The National Fire Heritage Center collection

About our fire service history collection

The NFHC is both a fire history archive and a documentation preservation project. Our collection of over 15,000 cataloged items consists of written documents and three-dimensional items donated by the public and private sectors. Materials are cataloged, preserved and made available to NFHC visitors and online researchers.

Our collection is categorized into the following media formats:

  • Art and artifacts
  • Audio
  • Books
  • Charts and graphs
  • Documents
  • Maps
  • Photography
  • Reports
  • Video

Collection spotlight

Download our collection catalog file

Our collection as of September 2019 consists of over 15,000 items that document the history of the American fire service and fire protection disciplines. Download the catalog file (ZIP, 3 MB) to search our collection.

Should you find an item of interest, please contact us to see how we can assist you with your research.

Instructions for opening and using this file

Zip files are single files, sometimes called “archives,” that contain one or more compressed files. Files with this extension require a compression utility application to open and extract them. Windows 7 (and above) and Mac OS X users do not require additional software to open and extract Zip files.

  1. Click on the Zip file to open.
  2. Open the file named Contents of the Archive_083119.pdf.
  3. Use the green buttons to browse by media type or enter keywords into the search box in the upper left corner.

How to contribute items to our collection

We’re always looking for items to add to our collection! If you have an item that you believe documents the history of “fire in America” and are interested in donating it to the NFHC, please contact us and our archivist will be in touch.

Why our work is important

Gaining access to historical fire-related writings can be hard. Prior to the establishment of the NFHC in 2005, there was no centralized, coordinated archival activity in the United States to ensure that important fire materials were saved in an accessible way. Much of the written history of “fire in America” was challenging to locate or, unfortunately, forever lost. Historical documentation that did exist was held in private collections where access was difficult or materials were not properly preserved.

The NFHC has changed all of that. Today, our organization works to assure the collection and proper preservation of these historical materials and that access is available to all who wish to know the story of “fire in America.”

Donate or Join us!

Other fire history collections on the web

The NFHC recommends the following organizations as trusted and reliable sources for information about the history of fire in America.