Monday, November 1, 2010

Small Museum of the Month: Nebraska Firefighters Museum & Education Center

The Nebraska Firefighters Museum & Education Center was just a dream to Nebraska firefighters until it opened its doors on August 15, 2009! Since then, this beautiful new facility has been utilized by kids (and kids-at-heart!) as a place to engage with the proud history of Nebraska’s approximately 500 volunteer or career fire departments, and to learn hands-on about the importance of fire prevention!
Located just off Interstate-80 in the heart of the nation, the shiny restored trucks & apparatus, historic antique equipment & tools, detailed 40-foot timeline of Nebraska’s firefighting heritage since 1856, and bold educational fire prevention exhibits have been seen by thousands of visitors from literally around the world!

Each day, we strive to live out our purpose of preserving Nebraska’s tangible and intangible firefighting heritage, of educating our visitors about the importance of fire prevention and fire safety, and of memorializing Nebraska's firefighters & EMTs.
Phase One of the three planned phases of construction was the facility itself, which includes the Don & Ardath Smeal Family Gallery - named for the founders of the Smeal Fire Apparatus factory in Snyder, Neb., our $1,000,000 donors - a community birthday party room and a community conference room. Phase One was completed on August 14, 2009.

In order to showcase as many of Nebraska's fire departments as possible in the current available amount of space, we feature a rotating exhibit system, through which we annually exchange trucks on the floor, bring in new displays, and enhance the more permanent exhibits of the Gallery, including the fire prevention Hazard House.
Phase Two of construction was a stately Nebraska Firefighters Memorial Garden. After raising the funds for this project from private and corporate donors, we proudly broke ground in April 2010, and dedicated the completed landmark granite garden on 10.10.2010 at 10:00AM at the Nebraska Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service! The Memorial Garden is a permanent way to pay respectful homage to the dedicated service and ultimate sacrifices made by Nebraska’s past, present and future firefighters and EMTs by showcasing granite monuments engraved with the names of Nebraska’s line of duty deaths, and the sponsored names of many of our state’s past and present firefighters & EMTs.  May they never be forgotten.

Phase Three will be the expansion of the exhibit gallery by 12,000 square feet, which will more than double our current exhibit space, distributed by 6,000 square feet to the east and to the west of the current gallery building. We will strive to raise the needed dollars to complete these additions, and complete the construction and exhibit installation process in the next few years.

- Summer Hours (Memorial Day-Labor Day)                 
 Open Daily:     9:00AM-6:00PM
 - Off-Season Hours (Labor Day-Memorial Day)                  
Friday – Sunday:   10:00AM-5:00PM                  
Weekdays by Appointment:     Call 308-338-FIRE(3473)

 - Admission:                
 Ages 5 & Under:    FREE!                  
Youth (ages 6-17):          $3                 
 Adult (ages 18-64):        $6                 
 Senior (ages 65+):          $4

Want to be a Small Museum of the Month? Learn more here!

Photo of Museum of the Month will be added to the front page of the SMA website shortly. All photos courtesy of the Nebraska Firefighters Museum.


  1. Thank you so much for selecting the Nebraska Firefighters Museum as the small museum of the month! We are proud to honor and celebrate the brave women and men, both volunteer and paid, of Nebraska's fire and emergency rescue organizations!

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