Bill & Bonnie Daniels Firefighters Hall & Museum
The Bill and Bonnie Daniels Firefighters Hall and Museum houses the premier museum in the upper Midwest dedicated to presenting and preserving the history of firefighting. It is located in Minneapolis at 664 – 22nd Avenue NE, between University and Central Avenues. The Firefighters Hall and Museum was established after the National Firefighters Memorial Museum closed for financial reasons.Former Minneapolis Fire Chief Clarence Nimmerfroh first organized a museum committee in 1974 with the purpose of starting a fire museum. The committee began to collect items for a fire museum, many being stored temporarily in Minneapolis fire stations until a museum could be established.
A temporary warehouse was acquired in 1979 at 7th Street and 11th Avenue South to store the many acquisitions Chief Nimmerfroh and his committee had collected. In 1985 the National Firefighters Memorial Museum moved into a rental property at 1100 Van Buren Street NE. The Museum remained there until it lost its lease in 1995.
Upon the death of Bill and Bonnie Daniels, the courts oversaw the trust left by them to establish a firefighters meeting hall and museum. The current Bill & Bonnie Daniels Firefighters Hall and Museum was purchased and rebuilt with the trust money left by retired Minneapolis Fire Captain Bill Daniels and his wife Bonnie, other donations, and several thousand hours of volunteer time. Volunteers continue to donate their time in an effort to make sure this critical historical resource is not lost. The challenge now is to raise funds for its operation and maintenance.
The Museum contains a variety of vehicles, equipment, literature, and photographs related to firefighting and firefighters in over 12,000 square feet of air conditioned space. The entrance façade was designed in the style of a turn of the century Minneapolis Fire Station. The permanent display includes an 1865 operating hand pumper, an 1894 Waterous steam fire engine, a 1919 American LaFrance Ladder Truck from Mankato and a 1932 FWD pumper built by the Minneapolis Fire Department shop.
There is also an extensive library where you can conduct research. It also contains information on former Minneapolis and St. Paul firefighters and other historical items dating back as far as the 1860s. The Firefighters Hall and Museum has an event center that can be rented for special functions such as meetings and parties and can hold up to 115 people. The Museum contains several interactive displays for children including a sliding fire pole, fire alarm box, open and enclosed tiller cabs, turn out gear, and makes a great place for a special birthday party.
The museum is seeking individual and organization members to support its continuing operation. Individual memberships are $36 per year and family memberships are $48 per year. Other memberships are also available and donations are always appreciated. You can visit the Museum Website at www.firehallmuseum.org as well as the website of an affiliated organization, Extra Alarm Association, at www.extraalarm.org