What’s New is Old and What is Old is New Again! - An Update from our CEO

I am very excited to be able to say that the Museum is now open!

What a year it has been! After such a tumultuous 2020 we never expected to face a more challenging 2021. This year the lockdown lasted much longer than the previous year and we were forced to stand down all of our staff either completely or partially (including myself and the senior management team).

When the Museum closed its doors in June 2021, we were experiencing a high having come off our busiest year for visitation yet! To suddenly have to close our doors right at our peak time with school holidays approaching was devastating to both moral our momentum and financially.

Rather than dwell on what we had lost our team got busy transitioning to online engagement with increased digital activities, social media posts and offerings. We also took the closure as an opportunity to take out many outdated displays and to upgrade our museum lighting and electrical systems.

Today when you visit the Museum, you’ll see some major changes. The Museum now has “museum lighting” which creates a great mood in the exhibition space, and we have created more interactive areas for children to engage with while parents have more historical content to view.

So what has changed?

  • The old burns exhibit has been removed (public feedback constantly stated how outdated the exhibit was so we decided to bite the bullet and remove it). This has been replaced with a temporary children’s area. This is partially in response to COVID-19 restrictions which has meant that we need to spread visitors more evenly across the Museum spaces. (Pictured below is a before and after of this space).

  • The theatre is currently being updated. To date new videos supplied by FRNSW Media team have replaced the films from the 1980s and puzzles for children have been introduced to the space to keep them busy whilst parents watch the videos. The lighting and two new displays have also been enhanced or added to the space. This is an ongoing project.

  • In the children’s area two of the half-cab fire engines have received interactive upgrades which means that children can feel like they are in a real fire engine (check out the video on our social media).

From a staffing perspective we have also welcomed some new team members and I look forward to introducing them more in the coming months. October has also brought with it three staff anniversaries. Pictured here with me are Monika and Star. This month Monika celebrates 10 years with the Museum as a staff member (even longer as a volunteer) while Star brings up 3 years with us. Star began at the Museum as a Junior front of house assistant and today while she works as a senior in this role, she also has developed her skills to become a member of our heritage team as one of the research assistants.

This month also marks six years since I first came to the Museum in the role of Senior Heritage and Research Officer. Since then, a lot has changed!

Pictured here is Star, Belinda and Monika (October 2021)

Throwback to 1971 and 2001 Speaking of looking back I took a quick dive into the Museum’s library this month to see what was happening back in 1971 (50 years ago) and 2001 (20 years ago).

The first thing that jumped out to me from 2001 was the constant conversation about the new “HR” that is the introduction of human resources to the popular vernacular. Across the three editions of Fire News from 2001 there is a lot of talk about this new directorate and the role HR will play going forward.