• MOF Team

Meet the Museum's Team

The work that we get done at the Museum wouldn’t be possible without each and every one of our team members. You may be familiar with some of our front-of-house team members, one of whom we will be getting to know a bit better this week. Monika, the Museum’s Senior Retail Assistant, is a warm, friendly face who’s always up for a chat. She’s across all things retail and runs a tight ship at the Museum’s shop. You may have also seen her husband Colin who often runs the fire engine rides throughout the week. Monika has been with the Museum as an employee 10 years this year, so who better to sit down with and have this chat.

Meet Monika!

Monika in the Museum, (Photo taken Oct 2021)

Position: Senior Retail Assistant (Front of House Team) - Monika oversees our junior staff to ensure the Museum is presentable and able to open to the public every day. She manages the Museum's retail activities whilst on duty.

We asked our new Education and Digital Officer Olivia to sit down with Monika as we celebrated Monika's 10 years with the Museum as one of our team.

Your Life at the Museum

How long have you been employed at the Museum?

Almost 10 years. Probably close to 11 years because I was a volunteer first.

How did you end up at the Museum?

Colin (Monika's husband) got here as a volunteer and that’s how I heard about it. I was at that point in my life, at a crossroads where I could opt to volunteer. I thought that sounded good because I had skills I could bring in here. I have a background in office skills and all that.

What is your favourite thing about working at the Museum?

People. The people I work with, the people I see as customers.

What is something you’ve learnt while working at the Museum?

Being a team player – I think that’s an important one. Not just to be my own boss.

What is your favourite object in the Museum’s collection?

The bicycle. Probably because I didn’t actually know it was there for such a long time. I like the simplicity of it, the role it played throughout history. And that it’s out there where everyone can see it.

This is the bike Monika is referring to. It This bike has been on display in the Museum for many years but it recently was re-located to a new showcase. From the late 19th century, New South Wales Fire Brigades’ stations were equipped with bicycles. As official forms of transport, they were used for a multitude of tasks, including running messages, checking on street alarm boxes, and undertaking water hydrant inspections. A standpipe could also be attached to the centre bar. They were gradually retired from the mid-1950s, in line with the removal of street alarm boxes. The bicycle on display was found in the ceiling of the former Fire & Rescue NSW 86 Station Penrith when it was set to be demolished in 1982.

What is your favourite memory about working at the Museum?

Mark White. He kept me on my toes, in other words. He was very fair. There was something about him. He’d always have your back. You trusted him as an employer. When you work for an organisation like this you have so many special moments.

What does your day at the Museum look like?

Basically, you come in and you make sure it’s presentable. Straight away that’s my goal, to make sure the place is presentable and accessible, and all the basic stuff is done first. Every day is different because you’re working with customers and different sorts of people. It was always nice to talk to people with different stories and sharing their background with firefighting in different countries. Out of all the years, something that really hit home was that I met a man who was in 9/11. That really hit home. I’ve got my routine stuff. Basically, managing the front of house is my day, but also working in with other staff where I’m needed.

If you could change anything about the Museum what would it be?