Benicia Historical Museum acquires Benicia Fire Museum
In recent months, Benicia Historical Museum has been working alongside the Benicia Volunteer Firemen, Inc. to acquire the Benicia Fire Museum collection. Museums don’t often acquire one another, and both organizations are aware that these are bold, unusual actions. Jen Roger, Executive Director of Benicia Historical Museum said, “It is with immense gratitude and appreciation of the trust that the Benicia Volunteer Firemen, Inc. has placed in us that we eagerly embrace the next chapter in our mission. We wish to publicly thank the Benicia Volunteer Firemen, Inc. for their 175 years of selfless volunteer service to our community. We know this is an emotional closing to their institutional heritage and we want to assure their Board of Directors, members, and community at large that the history of Benicia’s fire service will not go unrecognized as we move forward.”
The mission of the Benicia Historical Museum is to engage the community and the greater public in the evolving history of Benicia and its contributions to the development of our state and country.
The Museum complex is at the heart of Benicia’s historic preservation and heritage promotion programs, making it the perfect home for the fire museum.
The Benicia Volunteer Firemen, Inc. was founded in 1847. It is the oldest continuously operated volunteer fire service in California, and was the first volunteer fire organization west of the Mississippi. The founding of the organization coincided with the arrival of the Phoenix, Benicia’s first fire truck. Built in 1820, the Phoenix served her first 27 years in the New York Volunteer Fire Department. She was brought to Benicia in 1849, the same year the city was founded.
The Benicia Fire Museum was founded in 1981 through the efforts of the Benicia Volunteer Firemen, Incorporated and the Benicia Fire Department. The Museum housed many treasures of fire service equipment and hundreds of related items.
Jen Roger is coordinating the transition of the Fire Museum to Benicia Historical Museum and is sensitive to the history of the organization. “I want to begin by extending our best to the Board of Directors and members of the Benicia Volunteer Firemen, Inc. and the Benicia Fire Museum. We welcome you to the Benicia Historical Museum family and want you to know that our time, dedication, and service to our community has not gone unrecognized or unappreciated and I want to reassure you that our board, staff, and volunteers are here to support you all, as well.”