We are fortunate to have arrived at a crossroad in the growth of the Museum: For over 40 years, the Dallas Firefighter's Museum has steadfastly chronicled the history in the City of Dallas and has offered tours to schoolchildren, families, and visitors from around the world. The 2,000 artifacts entrusted to the Museum not only tell the story of how fires were fought, but more importantly, documents the innovation, dedication, and courage of the men and women who fought - and continue to fight - fires so that the citizens of Dallas remain safe.
Back in 1872, the City of Dallas was growing. With growth came the need to care for its citizens and its property. An all-volunteer fire fighting force served Dallas in the early days. This dedicated group of civic leaders came together each time the fire bell sounded to help their neighbors, themselves and the City they called home. As one author is quoted, "Firefighting was not a profession in 1873; it was a civic duty." Although firefighting has grown into a great, honorable profession, it has done so through the skills and innovative work of the men and women who fought, and fight, fires daily in the City of Dallas.
What better way to honor the work and valor of these individuals than by expanding the educational outreach of the Museum and by preserving and displaying the tools and equipment that helped Dallas Fire-Rescue grow into the outstanding firefighting organization it is today. Currently, the Dallas Firefighter's Museum serves an average of 2,000 visitors per year. With the creation of an educational center and the planned facility renovations, we anticipate over 6,000+ visitors per year and expanded outreach to more than 15,000 school age children.
A crossroad is a curious place between the past and the future. At this crossroad, we believe we must have the courage of our fallen firefighters, retirees and those currently serving, along with the citizens of Dallas, to preserve the strong legacy of Dallas Fire-Rescue, while preparing our children and their families to be safe. In order to accomplish all this we need $5.6 million for the renovations and the creation of the new educational center expanding outreach to the children of Dallas. In addition, an endowment of $4.4 million would enable the Dallas Firefighters Museum to offer scholarships to children and families, provide funding for innovative exhibits and insure the conservation of the Museum.
We are in the very early stages of preparing for this campaign, but we wanted you to understand the need and the desire for Dallas to have a premier Museum with an exceptional educational center for outreach programs. Together, we will share the legacy of all Dallas Firefighters and prepare our citizens to be safe.
Our goal is to redefine the interior space of the Museum in order to create exhibits and preserve the antique equipment, artifacts and photos for generations to come. Below is the floor plan for the renovation of the first floor exhibit featuring all firefighting equipment and machinery. By changing the interior footprint, The Dallas Firefighters Museum simultaneously will lay the foundation for expanded outreach to thousands of schoolchildren.
Through a unique partnership with Dallas Fire-Rescue educators, the new educational center will enable thousands more children a unique learning opportunity through hands-on exhibits, an IMAX theatre, antique equipment and a life-sized room complete with beds and fire poles, replicating how early firefighters lived and worked at the station. The new educational center will offer children and all visitors the opportunity to learn to prevent fires, as well as, what safety steps to take should be there at a fire.
President, Museum Board of Directors
Sherwood E. Blount, Jr.
Museum Board Member