San Francisco Fire Department Museum
The San Francisco Fire Department Museum and Safety Learning Center is a facility that serves as both a museum for SFFD-related artifacts, and as an educational center for teaching fire safety. San Francisco has had a history with fires and natural disasters ever since people first began settling in the area. The devastating earthquake of 1906 caused the city’s gas lines to rupture spreading multiple blazes throughout the city. San Francisco was almost completely destroyed as a result. With such a storied and rich history of firefighting and public safety, San Francisco’s Fire Department is diligent about documenting that history and educating the public about fire and earthquake safety/awareness.
As a part of the SFFD’s collection, the museum maintains a variety of antique firefighting equipment. Pieces include a variety of restored hand engine pumps from the early 1800s as well as a collection of hose carts, buggies, and horse-pulled fire engines. More modern day firefighting vehicles can also be viewed with fire trucks from the 1920s through the 1950s and 60s. Visitors can educate themselves on the history and evolution of the various fire department badges and other insignia.
The San Francisco Fire Department Museum is located at 655 Presidio Avenue. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are both welcomed and encouraged. It should be noted as well that the museum staff is made of all volunteers. This can make a regular schedule hard to maintain at times. If you would like to visit the museum, you are encouraged to first visit the website at http://guardiansofthecity.org/sffd/index.html for dates of operation by month, or call the museum direct at 415-563-4630. Be sure to visit the museum’s on-line gift shop where you can purchase fire department-themed greeting cards and posters.