Educational Resources at Friendship Firehouse Museum

Find firefighting learning resources for your students (Pre-K through 8th grade), scouts or other group.

Page updated on Aug 2, 2021 at 10:56 AM

Educational Resources at Friendship Firehouse Museum

Learn from Home

Try the activities below, check out a book, or follow a link to explore Friendship Firehouse Museum, firefighting history, and fire safety at home.

Let’s Do It!: Activities to Do at Home 

Fire LadderPretend: Bucket Brigade Activity
Citizens in Early Alexandria kept at least one fire bucket in their home or business. When they heard there was a fire in town, they grabbed the fire buckets and ran to the fire to help. Citizens and firefighters formed a bucket brigade to fill a fire engine with water and to help put out the fire.  Imagine what it was like to fight a fire in Alexandria in the past.  Then, use supplies you have at home and family members to recreate a bucket brigade. 

Pretend: Fire Ladder Rescue Activity
Get your little firefighter moving in this motor skills challenge!  Create a fire ladder outline using tape (indoors) or sidewalk chalk (outdoors).  Pick a movement card to climb the ladder extinguish a “fire” and rescue some (stuffed toy) animals.

Play: Fire Safety Bingo
Firefighting and fire safety has changed a lot since Friendship Fire Company was founded in 1774. Use this activity to review what you've learned about firefighting in early Alexandria. It’s also a great way your family can start a conversation about how to stay safe during fire emergencies at home in the 21st century.  After your Bingo game, watch the video below “Making a Home Fire Escape Plan” together.  Then make your plan as a family and practice it!

Read More About It!: Books to Read!

Clasped HandsFriddell, Claudia, and Troy Howell. Goliath: Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire. Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2010.
Baltimore author Claudia Fridell tells readers about the Baltimore Fire of 1904 through the story of Goliath the fire horse who was assigned to Engine Company 15’s massive Water Tower fire apparatus. This book is available through Alexandria libraries.

Nolan, Janet, and Marie Lafrance. The Firehouse Light. Berkeley [Calif.]: Tricycle Press, 2010.
This picture book tells the true story of the Centennial Bulb, a light bulb located in a firehouse that has been lit for over one hundred years. As the bulb presides over the firehouse, the illustrations and text show readers how firefighting and the community change over time. The book is available through Arlington libraries. You can see the Centennial Bulb in Livermore, California – live via the Bulb-cam! – and learn more about it.

Ochiltree, Dianne, and Kathleen Hadam Kemly. Molly, by Golly!: The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighter. 2012.
Molly cooks for Mr. Aymar and the volunteer firefighters of Fire Company Number 11 in early 1800s New York City. When a nearby home catches fire during a blizzard and the company volunteers are sick, Molly helps the fire company raise the alarm and put out the fire. Based on the author’s research into the life of Molly Williams, this book is available in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax libraries.

Osborne, Mary Pope and Steve Johnson. New York's Bravest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Standing eight feet tall, with enough strength to lift a trolley, Mose the firefighter helps put out fires all over bustling 1840s New York City. Gorgeous illustrations and simple text are used to relate this story in the tradition of Paul Bunyon. Osbourne drew upon fictionalized stories of real-life firefighter Mose Humphreys to create her story of this urban folk hero. The book is available in Fairfax libraries.

Find Out About It!: Online Resources

Bucket BrigadeFriendship Firehouse Museum - Google 360 Virtual Tour
Come for a virtual visit to our museum! Using your museum detective eyes, how many leather fire buckets can you find? Can you find clasped hands (the symbol of Friendship)? Hint: they are in two places! Look for a speaking trumpet that a fire captain might have used, then “climb” the stairs to see the room where the fire company met.

The Gear Firefighters Wear (YouTube Video) - NFPA Kids
Find this and other videos on the National Fire Protection Association's webpages
In this video from the National Fire Protection Association, their mascot Sparky the Fire Dog and Firefighter Tony show kids what firefighters in the 21st century wear when they fight fires.

Making a Home Fire Escape Plan (YouTube Video) - NFPA Kids
Find this and other videos on the National Fire Protection Association's webpages
Firefighting and fire safety has changed a lot since Friendship Fire Company was founded in 1774. Our families still have an important safety role to play in fire emergencies. One of the most important ways your family can be safe during a fire emergency is to have a home fire escape plan together. The National Fire Protection Association shows you how to make a home fire escape plan in six easy steps. Make your family’s plan together today!

Citizen Firefighters in Early Alexandria

Come join the bucket brigade! Volunteerism is an essential part of community life and citizenship; through their service, volunteers help our communities function, making them better places to live and work. As cities developed in the American colonies, fire companies were founded by citizens who were motivated by the threat of fire and a concern for their property and community. "Citizen Firefighters in Early Alexandria" explores how these citizen-volunteers were important early Alexandria.  

Participants will learn how community volunteers fought fires in colonial and early nineteenth-century Alexandria; about the evolution of the group’s community role as they transitioned from an active fire company to fraternal organization; and about company membership, including the election of new and honorary members through voting.  Participants see historic equipment actually used for fighting fires by the Friendship Fire Company and, through role play, learn colonial firefighting techniques.  Participants will discuss and nominate new honorary members and vote to determine their selection.  In conclusion, the museum teacher will encourage participants to think about how they can help their present-day communities.

Friendship, Boy and Horn imageFriendship, Kids and Rope imageFriendship, Fire Bucket Brigade image

The Friendship Commander giving
orders to the bucket brigade

Ringing the bell to summon the Friendship
volunteers to the firehouse

Manning the
Fire Bucket Brigade

  • Cost: Lessons are free to Alexandria City Public School groups, and $3 per person ($40 minimum) for all other groups. Up to 1 adult for every 5 children is admitted free; additional adults $3 each. All teachers are admitted free of charge.
  • Length: 60 minutes
  • Limit: 25 students

Educational programs can be arranged Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 1 - 4 p.m. by appointment. To book a tour, telephone the Education Coordinator (at The Lyceum) at 703.746.4994, or through Alex311.