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“A Hot Destination for Every Generation”

Pennsylvania National Fire Museum
Ranked #17 of 56 things to do in Harrisburg
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Attraction details
Owner description: Enter the 1899 Victorian Firehouse, Home of the Reily Hose Co. No. 10 and experience the sights and sounds of Firefighting History. The Pennsylvania National Fire Museum features fire apparatus from Handtubs and Steam Pumpers, hand drawn to horse drawn, to motorized Engines and a 1935 MACK tillered Ladder Truck. An outstanding and varied collection of artifacts are on display
Reviewed March 16, 2014

Everyone on our five family, three generation trip found lots of things to appreciate. We ranged in age from nearly 3 to nearly 67 and there was plenty to grab our different perspectives and interests and be appreciated from our different respective elevations!

The volunteer docents are knowledgeable and articulate. Our guide, a third generation firefighter, was able to connect well with all in our group pointing out items of interest to all of us. A good storyteller, he wove his personal history appropriately and reinforcingly into his narrative about the displayed items.

Operated in a beautifully restored fire house, the everyday life of a century-ago firefighter is on full display. An “audio diorama” gets the docent-directed tour just inside the main doors off with a galloping start.

The sharp clang of an alarm bell starts the minutes long and sometimes raucous narrative of horses being quickly harnessed for a mad dash down Fourth Street to a years-ago extinguished pseudo-blaze. The museum mannequins - human and equestrian - with expressions of excitement, anticipation and urgency draw visitors further into the action. Only one thing is missing – the olfactory impacts of the horses, steam-pumps and hopefully simulated horse exhaust lying on the stall floor.

The rest of the tour is less boisterous, but no less interesting!

With regularly changing display photos from local fire companies and an extensive compliment of surplus items that can be cycled into various areas of the museum, there will always be new things to see.

The quality of the equipment and apparatus on display, the attention to accuracy and detail and the pride of participation shown by the 100% fire service connected volunteers on staff make this experience worth the trip. This museum reflects well on the thousands of volunteer firefighters who serve across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Country. Whether in station or on scene, these people have my respect.

Thank Gil L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"fire trucks"
in 7 reviews
"old firehouse"
in 2 reviews
"on display"
in 4 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 3 reviews
"few hours"
in 3 reviews
"tour guide"
in 2 reviews
"all ages"
in 2 reviews
"firefighters"
in 12 reviews
"firefighting"
in 6 reviews
"apparatus"
in 5 reviews
"volunteers"
in 11 reviews
"equipment"
in 11 reviews
"alarm"
in 2 reviews
"engines"
in 2 reviews
"history"
in 20 reviews
"pennsylvania"
in 6 reviews
"exhibits"
in 7 reviews
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37 - 41 of 49 reviews

Reviewed December 18, 2013

I'm a little biased; as a volunteer firefighter, I love this place. But I think everyone - of all ages - would enjoy this little gem tucked away in the City. It encompasses the history of the fire service in Harrisburg, PA. A must do when visiting the area. Not the best neighborhood, but you should have no issues during the day. Free off-street parking at the museum.

Thank MCFDTony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2013 via mobile

Whether you are a firefighter or a history buff, this is a great place to stop by. It is completely volunteer based, which makes it even more impressive. Staff is so friendly!!

1  Thank Jerri1221
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2013

If you are a firefighter history buff this is the place to go. Staff was very friendly and informative. Located in century of Victorian Firehouse. It has a great collections of aritfacts.

1  Thank Lydia F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 28, 2013 via mobile

Good museum of the history. Very friendly staff. Takes about an hour, well worth it if you have any interest in firefighting history.

1  Thank Jeniam826
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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