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NYC Fire Museum Honors the FDNY’s Musical Traditions with a New Exhibition: Strike Up the Band: A Tribute to the Bands of the Bravest

Hudson Square, New York, NY — The New York City Fire Museum has now launched a new exhibition, Strike Up the Band: A Tribute to the Bands of the Bravest, which tells the story of the New York City Fire Department’s extensive musical traditions that span generations.

The exhibition will be on display from April 26, 2023 through late August 2023, and will take guests on a journey of over 100 years of history. It will include historic objects such as bagpipes and drums, uniforms, trophies and photographs from throughout the bands’ histories, as well as modern video displays that allow visitors to fully explore this little-known aspect of the Department.

“The arts are what continue to inspire us and keep our cultures alive, and the FDNY is no exception. That is why we are elated to share this unique, months-long exhibition with our community,” said Sean Britton, Collection Manager and Curator at the New York City Fire Museum. “From triumphant achievements to great losses, bands are a quintessential piece to the FDNY’s ceremonial traditions. We thoughtfully selected some of the most historically relevant and intriguing artifacts to fully paint the picture of this often underrepresented side of the FDNY.”

From the creation of the first FDNY band in 1900 through the present day, members of the Department have used music to celebrate in parades and exhibitions, as well as to mourn their losses at funerals. Although the first band in the Department was short-lived, a full marching band was organized in 1913, appearing in parades throughout the city and traveling the country performing in competitions. In 1920, a Bugle and Drum Corp was formed and coexisted with the marching band. With the formation of the Emerald Society (the Department’s Fraternal Irish Organization) in 1956, bagpipes came to the forefront of the Department’s musical efforts, and remain symbolic of the Department’s musical endeavors. The FDNY Pipes and Drums was formed in 1962 and exists proudly to this day, performing in parades and dedications, while also mourning every fallen member at funerals.

Visiting the New York City Fire Museum

COVID Information: The Museum advises that mask-wearing is optional for employees, members, and general visitors.

Directions/Address: 278 Spring Street, New York, N.Y.

To reach the Museum by subway, take the “C” or “E” train (8th Avenue Local) to Spring Street. Walk west 1½ blocks. Alternately, take the “1” train (IRT) to Houston Street. Walk south along Varick Street for 4 blocks to Spring Street. Walk west ½ block. To reach the Museum via bus, take the M10 or M21 to Spring Street.

Hours of Operation

Open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 AM to 5 PM
Advance ticketing preferred; walk-ins welcome

Admission Prices

Advance tickets are preferred for General Admission:
● $10.00 for Adults
● $8.00 for Students, Seniors, Firefighters, AAA members, Federally Disabled (with ID)
● $5.00 for Children

Free admission – with valid ID – for:
● New York City Fire Museum, Museum Council and Cool Culture members
● Active and Retired FDNY and NYPD members
● Active and Retired US Military service members

About the New York City Fire Museum

The mission of the New York City Fire Museum is to collect, preserve and present the history and cultural heritage of the fire service of New York and to provide fire prevention and safety education to the public, especially children. Learn more at