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May 2, 2014

Firefighting Museum unveils new children's corner

Haverhill has one of New England's biggest historic firefighting collections

HAVERHILL — This time, it’s all about the kids.

The Haverhill Firefighting Museum was looking to create more excitement for children who visit. After six months of planning and effort, the museum will unveil its enhanced children’s corner during a celebration tomorrow.

The children’s corner features a wooden replica of a fire engine that children can play in, along with fire reels and kid-sized hoses children can pull, and an area where children can try on firefighter gear such as boots, pants, jackets and helmets — all sized for kids.

“There’s always been a children’s corner, but the idea of enhancing it to make it more appealing to children was the impetus behind this,” said Albert Henderson, a member of the museum’s board of directors. “There are lots of displays that are more oriented to adults, so this corner gives children a place to play while adults are looking at some of the other exhibits. Plus, museums should appeal to all ages.”

“Hands-on stuff is always more appealing and exciting to children,” he said.

Tomorrow’s opening day celebration is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children are invited to meet and have pictures taken with museum mascot Dottie the Dalmatian.

The museum, in the historic Armory Building at 75 Kenoza Ave., is home to one of the largest collections of historic New England firefighting equipment and information in New England.

The museum’s displays include an old firefighter alarm panel that was in the Fire Department’s former headquarters on Hamilton Avenue, along with old leather water buckets, helmets and other apparatus used to fight fires as early as the 1700s. There’s also a display case focusing on horses and the role they played in fighting fires before the days of gas engine vehicles.

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