If your little boy or girl thinks being a firefighter sounds like the world’s best job, the Hall of Flame makes an ideal destination for bright-red educational fun. Here you’ll find firefighting equipment from all around the world and dating back through history to 1725, plus a hands-on exhibit about fire safety.
It all started as one man’s collection in 1955, when George Getz got an antique fire engine for Christmas. The collection grew until it became a tiny museum in Wisconsin, kept growing, reached a total of 130 vehicles (plus 10,000 other firefighting-related items) and ended up here in Phoenix.
A visit to the Hall of Flame is a journey through history—four of the six main exhibits are devoted to a particular era. First you’ll want to watch the 10-minute introductory video in the museum’s 50-seat theater, surrounded by cases of fire helmets. Then the real tour begins, starting in the horse and hand-drawn era. Here you’ll see dozens of wagons: engines, ladder wagons, hose wagons, chemical wagons… A series of paintings and lithographs augments the gallery, together with a collection of 400+ firemarks from around the world.
The second gallery features the early years of motorized firefighting. Included in the collection is a London-made engine used in Peru, and a restored engine that you can actually climb inside—perfect for young children who’ll eventually get tired of just looking. History proceeds through galleries three and four, with aerial trucks, three operating alarm rooms and a collection of 4,000 fire department arm patches from countries around the world.
Next to gallery four is the Fire Safety Learning Area, where kids will learn how to use a smoke alarm, practice carrying out a home escape plan with a designated meeting-place, and do the classic stop/drop/roll maneuver. There’s also fire safety videos, firefighter dress-up and a fire pole to slide down.
The National Firefighting Hall of Heroes lists the names of thousands of firefighters who died in action, as well as those given citations for acts of heroism. The final gallery, focusing on woodland firefighting, includes a lookout stand, scale models of fire-jumping planes and tools used by the brave men and women who fight wildfires.
The museum is located right across the street from the Phoenix Zoo, next door to the Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Hall of Flame Fire Museum
6101 E Van Buren St
Phoenix, AZ 85008