The Fire Museum Network
There are over 200 fire museums in the United States and Canada - ranging from a spare room in the firehouse basement, to ones with warehouse-like proportions. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) saw the need to link these diverse institutions together and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas.
In 1989 the IAFC, (with a donation from Art Glatfelder, president of the Volunteer Firemen's Insurance Services), sponsored an informal seminar for fire museums, held during their large Fire-Rescue International conferance. Nine fire museums, from New York to California, attended that first two-day meeting in Indianapolis. By the close of the second day, all vowed to come back next year, and the annual Fire Museum Seminar was born.
While the seminars were productive and informative, many museums wanted more opportunities for interaction throughout the rest of the year. At the 1994 Fire Museum Seminar in St. Louis, a committee was appointed to develop a proposal for a fire museum organization ("network"). After one year of suggestions, discussion, and refinements, the proposed "Fire Museum Network" was approved at the 1995 Fire Museum Seminar Louisville, KY.
Today, the Fire Museum Network is made up of over 100 individuals and member organizations, both large and small, who come together each year at our annual Fire Museum Seminar.