Rowan Museum's 'Where's the Fire?' exhibit opens Sunday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Rowan Museum will open its exhibit honoring the history of firefighting in Rowan County at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The exhibit – “Where’s the Fire?” – will reflect the commitment and service of Rowan County’s many firefighters through the history of all the local departments.
Participating departments are the Army Air National Guard, the Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office, Rowan County Emergency Services, East Spencer, Woodleaf, Spencer, Bostian Heights, Mount Mitchell, Cleveland, Faith, Ellis, South Salisbury, Franklin, Pooletown, Granite Quarry, city of Salisbury, Locke, Union, West Rowan, China Grove, Rockwell City, Rockwell Rural and Richfield/Misenheimer.
Items on display are from the turn of the century to the present. They include buckets, helmets, uniforms, hydrants, ladders, a rolling 1930s 30-gallon canister, communications equipment and lots of other interesting artifacts.
There also are many visuals of the departments, their history, firefighters, the fires – many notable ones from the past.
Youngsters especially will enjoy the interactive pieces of the exhibit. Guests will be delighted to step on the tailgate of a modern fire truck and also ring firebells.
Paul Brown, local businessman, Rowan Museum board past president and collector of vintage fire apparatus, is assisting Terry Holt, the exhibits chairman, in bringing awareness to the public of the many fire and safety departments in Rowan County that help protect our citizens on a daily basis.
Also assisting Holt are museum board members Elliott Mathis and Grady Hall, along with Alan Shuping. Sharing the history of local firefighters is one way to honor their commitment and share their stories.
For example, the exhibit will share visually the changes and improvements that have taken place over the last century. Museum officials say they are pleased to have personal uniform items on display from Ernest McCray, the first black captain on Salisbury’s force.
McCray served his community for many years and is a well-respected retired firefighter.
Brown says, “It has always been my dream and hope that Rowan County would have a fire museum one day for permanent display. The great response to this exhibit shows that there is interest in this possibly becoming a reality.”
A reception will be held in the Messinger Room on the second floor of the museum.
A service to honor all of Rowan’s past firefighters will be conducted at 3 p.m. The exhibit, service and the reception are open to the public. This exhibit will close Jan. 13, 2013.
The Rowan Museum, located at 202 N. Main St. in Salisbury, is open from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
For more information or to schedule group tours, contact the museum at 704-633-5946, or email