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New Exhibit Exploring History of Firefighting to Open at Sigal Museum Sept. 21 | WDIY Local News

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Sigal Museum

A new museum exhibit exploring the history of firefighting in Northampton County is opening this week. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

The Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society recently announced that its exhibition Forged by Fire: The Heroism, Honor, and History of Firefighting will open on Sept. 21 at the Sigal Museum, 342 Northampton St. in Easton.

In a release, Curator of Exhibitions Tim Betz said the display showcases firefighters from the 18th century to the present, and how communities worked to protect themselves from fire.

"This exhibition is more than hoses or fire trucks," Betz said in a statement. “Visitors will learn about how fire companies developed, heroes past and present, the technology needed to keep communities safe, and some helpful fire animals.

“Even if you think you know the story of firefighting, there will be something here to surprise you."

The NCHGS says the exhibition traces the roots of local fire prevention, dating back to William Penn and the Great Fire of London in 1666.

It will also include information on Colonial Era town planning, Moravian innovations for moving water, the bucket brigade and horse-drawn steamer engine, and the formation of volunteer fire companies.

This led to 19th century innovations like the Gamewell Fire Alarm call box and Victorian parade culture, all the way to the present-day firefighting which includes modern protective gear and tactics, drones, and thermal imaging.

The exhibit will feature Easton’s first pumper truck, made in 1797, along with other firefighting tools throughout history. The collection will also include a variety of personal stories and objects, many of which have never been on public display, according to Curator of Collections, Monica Bugbee.

“We are very excited to give them a moment to shine in public view,” she said. “We're also delighted to be presenting pieces on loan from community fire companies and local collectors."

The exhibit will include interactive elements such as being able to try on real firefighting gear, and the chance to make replicas of wooden pipes from the 1740s.

Forged by Fire will run through July 7, 2024. The Sigal Museum is open Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sundays from 12-4 p.m.

(Original air-date: 9/19/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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