The Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati is located downtown at 315 West Court St. I’d wanted to visit since we moved to Cincinnati 8 years ago, and a recent birthday party for my favorite 4-year old proved to be the perfect opportunity.
In 1853, the first paid, professional fire department in the US was created in Cincinnati. The building that now houses this museum was built in 1906 for Engine Company #45. It was designed by Harry Hake, a prominent local architect also responsible for the Cincinnati and Suburban Telephone Company Building [one of my favorite buildings in Cincinnati].
As you might imagine, the museum collection traces the history of the profession with an emphasis on technological innovation. For me, the highlights are hand-lettering and other bits of design. Above and below are just some of the patches from fire departments from across the US and beyond, found in several large display cases in the basement.
Holy hand-lettering, Batman!
And lots and lots of fire trucks. Side note: why do kids love fire trucks so much?
The Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati is completely worth a visit, with or without kids and, in terms of design inspiration, it’s a great complement to Cincinnati’s American Sign Museum.
I’ve been trying to find more of these esoteric museums wherever I go: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum also features amazing hand-lettering and typography. The Houdini Museum and the Noguchi Museum, both in NYC, are worth checking out and, for entirely different reasons, so is the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY.
When people start monkeying with 3D software, one of the first things they do is extrude (and spin) text and logos. The extrusions NEVER look as cool as what people do by hand.
I’m dying to go to Vent Haven in NKY – the ventriloquist dummy museum.
There’s a ventriloquist dummy museum in NKY, by the way.
The Fire Museum is free the Saturday before 9/11 FYI. They always have a chili contest and a poker run for the motorcycle guys.
Gassyknoll and Quimbob, Vent Haven is on my list! If I memory serves, 5chw4r7z visited at some point.
Quimbob, I completely agree about analog versus digital 3D type. This old stuff can’t be beat.
I did visit Vent Haven! http://5chw4r7z.blogspot.com/2012/10/vent-haven-museum.html
And a couple of years ago, the Fire Museum had Randolph Mantooth for their 9/11 observances. And I missed him. 😦
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