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May 29, 2012

Museum Community Day June 2 Highlights Firefighting: Then and Now

Colonial Williamsburg’s Museum Community Day features Firefighting: Then and Now on the lawn of the Public Hospital 10 a.m.—2 p.m. Saturday, June 2 plus free admission for the entire day to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg located at 324 West Francis St., Williamsburg.

Colonial Williamsburg’s reproduction 18th-century fire engine will be on the lawn to demonstrate period firefighting techniques, and younger guests are invited the join the bucket brigade to keep the fire engine filled with water. The fire engine is a replica of the Richard Newsham Fire Engine currently on view in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in an exhibition made possible by a grant from the Ambrose and Ida Frederickson Foundation.

Colonial Williamsburg experts — including mechanical arts curator Erik Goldstein, director of conservation David Blanchfield and vice president of collection, conservation and museums Ron Hurst — will be on hand to discuss the historical significance of the Richard Newsham Fire Engine.

Guests also will see modern firefighting equipment parked on the lawn, including the Williamsburg Fire Department’s 2011 Pierce Quantum Pumper and a 1949 Mack Classic Pumper. Guests also learn about fire safety and the department’s young explorer program from the city’s professional firefighters. "We're excited to partner with Colonial Williamsburg highlighting not only modern public safety, but also the tradition and history of firefighting in Williamsburg," said Williamsburg Fire Chief William “Pat” Dent. "We hope residents will take the opportunity to come to the event, meet our firefighters and EMS professionals and see our state of the art equipment."

Guests also will find interactive, hands-on and craft activities for children and families during Museum Community Day inside the museum.

Chief Dent and curator Erik Goldstein engage in a conversation about 18th-century and modern firefighting at 11:30 a.m. in the Hennage Auditorium of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

Refreshments, including barbecue, hot dogs and soft drinks will be available for purchase on the lawn from 12:30 — 2 p.m. The Museum Store is offering a hot deal for Museum Community Day. Buy two books at full price and get a third book of equal or lesser value at 40 percent off.

In the event of inclement weather, the outdoor activities will be cancelled, but programs and activities inside the museum will go on as planned. The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and the Public Hospital are located at 326 West Francis St. For museum program information, call (757) 220-7724.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281