Exists to preserve, protect and increase the utilization of contributors to the body of knowledge of the American Fire Protection Services and allied disciplines through identification, acquisition, preservation, conservation and restoration.
Closed for the season, but will be opening soon in April
Closed for the season, but will be opening soon in April
We currently now have a Newsletter called the " The Back Step" here at the Fire Museum, you can download it here in a PDF format
by clicking here to view it. This will be a quarterly newsletter to friends and supporters of the museum.
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National Fire Heritage Center
Museum Tenant, National Fire Heritage Center, is helping to preserve the written history of Fire in America
Within our Museum facility is the new National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC). Nearly 10 years in the making, the NFHC is working to help to fill a long-standing void – namely, a means for the preservation of and access to critically important print materials from history. The Center holds great promise for those in America, from yesterday, today and tomorrow who seek to keep our country safe from the threat and reality of Fire. Within walking distance of the campus of the National Fire Academy/USFA and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, the NFHC exists on a national scale to help save the important historical written work related to both the fire services and the fire protection disciplines.
In addition to hard copies of one-only print materials to long-ago references of all kinds, the NFHC also seeks electronic files to become part of it’s expanding public access to items typically help in private collections often not known or not easily accessible. The NFHC effort enhances current initiatives of fire museums (the holders of 3-dimensional artifacts) and fire libraries (the keepers of written work that sometimes gets tossed when no longer thought to be of valve), while also helping local, state and national groups of all kinds, fire departments in communities large and small, fire-related business and professional groups, fire history buffs, active and even retired individuals and their families, too.
All interested can help to insure that documentation of fire-specific treasures from history are retained and made available for reference by others. Fire insurance companies, fire equipment and apparatus manufacturers, fire and building code administrators, technical writers including leaders with the nation’s fire press, fire departments, and a whole host of organizations and individuals can help with this initiative that is working to preserve and protect all aspects of fire history. Even items that some may describe as mundane might possibly be on the Center’s radar screen of potentially wanted items if they no longer exist elsewhere. And, as well are all manner of unique written items in individual collections, family storage, public and private libraries, as well as items that may be locked away in governmental and corporate closets which may otherwise be tossed by those who might not have given much thought to the importance of documenting the advances in technology in numerous fire-related fields over time.
Mission Statement: The National Fire Heritage Center exists to preserve, protect and increase the utilization of contributors to the body of knowledge of the American Fire Protection Services and allied disciplines through identification, acquisition, preservation, conservation and restoration.
Chief Ronny J. Coleman of California serves as the Center’s President. According to Chief Coleman, “the NFHC’s Executive Board is made up of a group of nationally diverse individuals from various fire-related walks of life who individually and collectively share a passion for seeing the effort become a source of important information on fire history (see their names and contact info at the website).” His group realized that gaining access to historical fire-related writings was difficult and in some cases impossible to achieve as there has to this point not existed a centralized, coordinated archival activity to insure that important written materials are saved in an accessible fashion.
Indeed, much of the rich written history of fire in America can be extremely hard to locate with far too much of it having already been lost. “And, more is being lost each day, too,” according to Coleman. “Most such documentation that does exist is held in private collections where access is exceedingly difficult,” Coleman points out. Often those locations are not readily known and/or where they do happen to exist there typically have no support personnel on hand to properly collect, repair, preserve, catalog and then digitally upload materials for electronic access by others.
Coleman, one of the most prolific fire-related writers and lecturers in our country today sees it, “examples abound of where holders of written history have been dismayed to learn that no single place exists to transfer or receive valuable materials even when offered. It’s the intent of the newly evolving National Fire Heritage Center to bring about a systematic process to overcome these shortcomings,” says Coleman. Envisioned is a Center for assuring the collection of and access to historical information, both electronically and otherwise. It is both an archive and legacy documentation preservation project. The NFHC effort has been designed to not supplant but rather to support existing fire libraries, which generally contain documents of the second half of the 20th century, or fire museums, which often contain limited written materials for ready reference or only hold materials specific to one locality thus normally not national or global in scope.
Upon being incorporated in the State of Maryland, the National Fire Heritage Center received its IRS 501c3 non-profit organizational status in the fall of 2006 allowing it to receive tax-deductible contributions and collection-suitable donations. When first launched, the original concept was referred to as "Heritage Hall." The National Fire Heritage Center of today is a more encompassing organizational title which can be thought of as a central repository of significant written history of the fire services and fire protection disciplines from throughout our nation’s history.
While some have likened the NFHC to a cross between a Presidential Library and a Military Archives - specific to Fire in America - it will take years to attain such status. Yet, like any major undertaking, such a journey begins with the first steps and those have now been taken to include the building of a foundation necessary to see such ideals prosper and grow. The NFHC will contain only limited 3-dimensional items typically found in fire museums as appropriate to helping explain ideas incorporated in written materials. The NFHC has been called the “attic of the fire community” – a place where important historical written materials can be held and properly maintained / catalogued to ultimately to be accessible via electronic means for those doing research.
“And, input is very much welcome regarding our plans,” Coleman said. “Our NFHC Strategic Plan is posted on the website for all to see along with our group’s Vision Statement, Value Statement, Goals, Principles, Organizational Motto and the identification of both strategic and long-range Initiatives, too,” Coleman points out. The NFHC’s Motto is, “Preserving the Perishable.” And, participation and support of the NFHC’s effort is open to all who share a desire to be a part of saving our collective history – from both the public and private sectors. The NFHC will soon be ready to begin receiving donated materials once proper advance coordination is completed – this being essential before donations can be accepted as only properly packaged, inventoried and labeled items can be processed. The NFHC already has on its website a base of written materials to offer to those interested.
Co-located within a portion of the Museum, the NFHC is an IRS 501c3 non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Maryland. Located at 300 South Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, MD 21727, and Museum sits about halfway between the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) campus and the community’s fire department, the Vigilant Hose Company (www.vigilanthose.org) just off Town Square. The NETC campus is Home to the outstanding resources of the United States Fire Administration and its National Fire Academy, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Foundation, National Fire Data Center, National Fire Programs, Learning Resource Center, PREPNet TV studios, Emergency Management Institute (www.usfa.dhs.gov). And, the local all-volunteer Vigilant Hose fire company is one of the most visited fire stations in the world. The Heritage Center is currently a tenant at the Museum which is open to the public every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., except Holidays. And, to coincide with an event when an audience of national fire leaders is in town, the Heritage Center will be holding its official opening later this year.
To learn more, visit the National Fire Heritage Center’s website, http://www.thenfhc.org. There, a Membership Application can also be found on-line as can a secure on-line Donation Form, too. Different levels of memberships are available to all who share a desire to help “Preserve the Perishable.” Needed now is your help be it in the form of offering historic materials, helping locate such items for donation, assisting in securing forms of financial support, advocacy the cause and/or serving on committees relating to the administrative / organizational needs or participation in select sub-groupings by topical area of history.
“Diamond” - $500 and above
“Platinum” - $250
“Gold” - $100
“Silver” - $50
“Brass” - $25
National Fire Heritage Center
An Archives for and about America’s Fire Services and Fire Protection Disciplines
P. O. Box 76 - Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727