Balky air conditioner chars Harrisburg fire museum budget

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania National Fire Museum on Fourth Street in Harrisburg houses a lot of history, starting with the building itself. It dates from 1899 and was once the home of Riley Hose Company Number 10. But the exhibits in the museum go back much later.

“We like to say we cover the fire story from the beginning to the present,” Kevin Gill, museum president said.

“One of our key pieces we have on display is a hand pumper from 1792, which comes from Philadelphia. The volunteer fire service actually started in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, with Ben Franklin. We want to preserve the history not just here in Harrisburg City, which has a tremendous amount of fire history, but the fire history of the United States.”

Like many facilities, the museum had to cut back on activities during the height of the COVID pandemic. With things starting to improve earlier in the year, museum volunteers were pumped up for a busy 2021.

“And our air conditioning decided to go out at the beginning of the summer,” Gill said.

Fixing it won’t be cheap. Gill says the price tag is somewhere between sixty thousand dollars and one hundred thousand dollars. They’ve kicked their fundraising efforts high gear.

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“We had several fundraisers over the summer,” Gill said. “And we’re continuing those throughout the fall, so we can at least get the money to put a downpayment on the system.”

In the meantime, they’re trying to keep things cool.

“We’re doing the best we can right now with some portable air conditioners, and fans, to try to keep the temperatures cool not only for our visitors but also for all our artifacts,” Gill said.

Gill says you don’t have to wait for a fundraising event to help out.

“Follow on Facebook, we have a huge following there, but please join us if you haven’t already, all of our announcements on fundraisers are there. We also have a very active website, which is www.pnfm.org, you can go on that link to there to see information, also you go to the donate button on there you can choose as well.”

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