Cincinnati Fire Museum315 W Court St STE 1
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1073
513-261-5553 | https://www.cincyfiremuseum.com
Cincinnati Fire Museum
Located in the heart of the city with the first paid professional fire department in the United States, the Cincinnati Fire Museum celebrates Cincinnati’s proud history as a leader in firefighting.
Located in the heart of the city with the first paid professional fire department in the United States and in a National Register for Historic Places site, the Cincinnati Fire Museum celebrates Cincinnati’s proud history as a leader in firefighting and offers a comprehensive history of firefighting.
The gems of this museum are in its extensive collection of some of the oldest firefighting equipment such as leather fire buckets and an 1808 Fire Alarm Drum. The collection includes numerous other early firefighting tools, from steel hardhats and suits to hoses, smokestack emblems and pumps.
On the first floor, exhibits focus on the period prior to 1853, when paid firefighters replaced volunteers. Firefighting, while dangerous, began as neighborhood clubs that offered a sense of belonging. As Cincinnati grew in the mid-nineteenth century, rivalries intensified between the companies of volunteers and eventually widespread fighting amongst the groups broke out. The upstairs portion of the museum focuses on the professionalization of firefighting in Cincinnati, which was the first city to create a modern fire department.
From sliding down a real firehouse pole to learning about fire safety, many displays are geared towards children for hands-on learning experiences. Children can even practice manually pumping water! Perhaps the most exciting exhibit for children is upstairs, though, where they can sit in the front portion of a fire truck and “drive” it with the rotating lights on and sirens blaring.
Notes for Travelers
Due to the urban location of this museum, parking is mostly city street parking or pre-pay parking lots. In addition, many of the large artifacts such as the engines have little barriers around them. This is wonderful in terms of viewing details, but please respect the artifacts and take care to watch children who may be tempted to touch or climb on the antiques.