The Mission of the Denver Firefighters Museum is to preserve the history of the Denver Fire Department and firefighting through the collection and preservation of artifacts, documents and photographs. The Purpose of the Denver Firefighters Museum is to educate the public about fire safety and the history of firefighting in Denver from its inception to the present. This is accomplished through interpretive exhibits, educational programming and scholarly research.
The Mission of the Denver Firefighters Museum is to preserve the history of the Denver Fire Department and firefighting through the collection and preservation of artifacts, documents and photographs.
The purpose of the Museum is to educate the public about fire safety and the history of firefighting in Denver from its inception to the present. This is accomplished through interpretive exhibits, educational programming and scholarly research.
In 2015, the Denver Firefighters Museum sent its specially trained educator to over fifty elementary schools to teach our Simply Safe Fire Safety Education program. We reached over12,780 students with this program during the 2014-2015 school year and over 10,961 students during the 2015-2016 school year.
Fire can affect anyone, at nearly any time. Empowering citizens through education can make a significant difference in an individual's response to fire emergencies. Fire safety education also significantly decreases the risk of fire-related injury and death within a community. The 2015 DFD Annual Report shows that fire-related casualties have significantly decreased from previous years. A portion of Colorado Gives contributions will be allotted to the Simply Safe program, as we receive no funding from the City of Denver or the Denver Fire Department.
The Museum is committed to celebrating the diversity of individuals and groups involved in the Denver Fire Department. This includes regular exhibits focusing on African-American firefighters and female firefighters. Future exhibits include those telling the story of Hispanic firefighters and immigrant firefighters. These stories are vital to presenting a full history of the DFD; we also hope to encourage young men and women to seek careers as first responders.
Denver Fire Department Retrieved May 14, 2015
Our areas of greatest need include:
1. To recruit more board members, specifically with legal, financial, and fundraising experience. Currently there are seven board members and we would like to expand that to at least eleven.
2. Funding for our Simply Safe Fire Safety Education Outreach Program. We believe reaching out to children in the City of Denver has caused a significant decrease in fire-related injuries and deaths.
3. Restoration of 32 historic windows. Our building is 106 years old and, like any building, needs constant maintenance. We do not own the building, but lease it from the City for $1.00 a year. Under the lease terms we are responsible for paying all utilities, phone, insurance, and maintenance on the building. We write State Historic Fund grants for some of the work, but need matching funds to qualify for those grants.
4. Funding for a part time collections/registrar position. Three volunteers have been trained to help with accession/cataloging of a backlog of donated items, and our archives have come a long way towards being organized and accessible. A part time, paid position would help speed up both of these important processes.
5. Building of an Endowment Fund to ensure we are financially solvent for many years to come.
The Denver Firefighters Museum is located in Historic Fire Station No. 1, constructed in 1909 for Engine Company No. 1. The building was designed by Glen W. Huntington, a noted Denver architect. It housed firefighters, equipment, and horses. Firefighters ate and slept in a dormitory on the upper floor, while apparatus and horses were kept on the ground floor.
In 1924, the building was renovated to accommodate motorized fire trucks and engines. The main floor was re-done in reinforced concrete to take the additional weight of engine-driven trucks. The hay loft on the second floor was converted into a larger kitchen, restrooms, locker area, and Division Chief's quarters.
The station was decommissioned in 1974 when it became unable to accommodate the arrival of larger and more specialized equipment. Then Chief of the Department Myrle Wise worked to save the building, by securing its place on the National Register of Historic Places. He helped to turn it into a museum to preserve the history of the Denver Fire Department and to teach fire safety to the public.
In 1980, the Museum attained 501(c)3 status and was opened to the public on a part-time basis. From 1981-1991 a restaurant on the second floor -"Old Number One Firehouse Restaurant"- helped fund the Museum.
The building is owned by the City of Denver, which leases it to the Museum for $1.00 a year. The Museum receives no funding from the City and pays for the maintenance of the building's interior and exterior, all utilities, insurance, telephone, and other operating expenses.
It is my pleasure to have been a member of the Board of the Denver Firefighters Museum for over ten years. As a small non-profit, we face several challenges: funding, maintenance on the building, recruiting new board members, organizing our collection and archives, and keeping our exhibits up to date and fresh. Funding is our major issue, as we do not receive any funds from the City of Denver, who owns the building (we lease it for $1/year) and must take care of all the maintenance, utilities, insurance, and other expenses. If the boiler breaks, we have to figure out a way to replace or pay for repairs; the same goes for the plumbing, electrical, roof, windows, etc. The Board works with the Executive Director on potential sponsors, grants, and special events that would raise funds. Recruiting new board members has been a challenge until recently when the bylaws were changed to eliminate what had been a 60% membership of the board needing to be either active or retired DFD. We can now approach a number of civilians to be on the board. The organization of our artifact and archive collections is being addressed by our Executive Director, who has trained three volunteers to work on the backlog of accessioning and re-housing items using respected archival-safe methods. This is a huge undertaking as the collections have never been completely inventoried as well. As President of the Board, I invite you to come visit, bring your family and enjoy the exhibits, interactives, and the history of our Department. Bob Vallero, Board President
From our website:
"Really nice museum with a lot packed into it. There are a lot of informational displays and a ton of equipment, etc. It's all housed in an old and interesting building. The staff was helpful and talking to one of the old firefighters was really interesting and informative..." G.D.
"Took my 4 & 2 year old and they loved it! They get to learn very neat things about fire trucks and the equipment used by the firemen, as well as many great safety tips. The highlights for my kids were the pole they got to slide down, the fire truck they got to play in, dressing up like real fire fighters, and playing computer games that taught about fire safety. Great way to spend a cold winter afternoon."
"Our 3 year old is addicted. He asks for it all the time. He and Daddy always come home with new interesting info. (This is my chance for Mommy Time..:) :) G. Adams
The Denver Firefighters Museum is located in Historic Fire Station No. 1, which was constructed in 1909 for Engine Company No. 1. In 1924 the building was updated to accommodate what had become an all-mechanized Department. The main floor was renovated using reinforced concrete for the floor to take the additional weight of engine-driven equipment, and the second floor hay loft was converted into a kitchen, locker room, men's show/restroom and a Division Chiefs' quarters. The Station was decommissioned in 1974, and the Museum officially opened in 1980, attaining 501c3 status at that time. Today the Museum is operated by a seven-member staff; 3 full time and 4 part time employees, and is open to the Public Monday - Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 4 p.m. The Museum not only preserves the history of the DFD, but also specializes in Fire Safety Education for children and seniors - the most vulnerable to injury or death due to fire.