First of all, every exhibitor that hosts a SITES show must fill out a detailed facility report. Naturally, one of the primary sections has to do with the facility’s fire protection measures. Information about alarm systems, sprinkler placement, and emergency exits–just to name a few–helps us to assess the safety of an exhibition and its objects in any given space. Plus, some of the info required is need-to-know for anyone, not just museum staff: how far away is the local fire station? Do you know how to operate a fire extinguisher? Where is the nearest fire hydrant? Make sure you have the answers!
SITES is also pleased to be working on Where’s the Fire? an upcoming exhibition about firefighting and its history in America. The show, which will include historic fire buckets, helmets, tools, and even model fire engines, will trace the development of firefighting from you, your neighbor, and a couple buckets to the professional and volunteer organizations we have today. Various historic fires (Chicago, anyone?) and prominent firefighters (did you know Ben Franklin was a firefighter?) will be highlighted as well. In a perfect convergence of these two topics, Where’s the Fire? project director Marcie Sprankle and registrar Ruth Trevarrow headed to the Smithsonian’s fire safety demonstrations last week. We not only survived a simulated tornado and watched how quickly sprinklers can extinguish a fire, we also spoke to Frederick County, Virginia Fire & Rescue Department Deputy Chief Linaburg about various fire safety resources that we can make available to future Where’s the Fire? exhibition venues.The bottom line is–you’ve got it–fire is HOT at the Smithsonian!
If your museum is interested in hosting Where’s the Fire?, contact scheduler Ed Liskey at 202.633.3142.