In September of 1983 a group of interested Port Hope citizens met to discuss the need to develop a museum to tell the story of fire service history in Canada. The group approved the concept that their community wanted to see the Museum developed in Port Hope. Fire Chief Roy Dayman and others actively promoted the concept throughout the community. A six-person Board of Directors was formed.
In June of 1984 the Museum was registered as a non-profit corporation, with expenses paid by the Town of Port Hope.
In September of 1984, the Board approved the Museum’s Statement of Purpose, Collection Management Policy and Research Policy.
In March of 1985 the Constitution and By-laws were approved.
In July of 1985, the status of non-profit charitable organization was granted. Donations to the Museum would be tax deductible.
In August of 1985 a “wish list” of 16 pieces of apparatus required for the collection was developed based on a 20,000 square foot location, including four units from the hand-drawn era, four units from the horse-drawn era, and eight units from the motorized period.
In October of 1985 the Museum’s first public display was held at the Oshawa Centre to celebrate Fire Prevention Week. This exhibit included six apparatus dating from 1881 to 1933 and was attended by 15,000 visitors.
In June of 1986, the Museum site at the Public Works building on Mill Street South was officially opened during a “Northumberland Mutual Aid” meeting, with about 100 people present, including the area MPP and MP. A third of the building was then occupied by the Museum.
From 1987-1988 a feasibility study jointly funded by the Municipality of Port Hope and the Province of Ontario was conducted.
In June of 1990, the middle section of the building was taken over by the Museum.
In September of 1996 a second building was erected on the property; the building was provided by the Port Hope Rotary Club with 50% of the space allotted to the Museum.
In June of 1998 an Ontario Lottery Corporation grant was approved for the Museum.
In June of 2000 the development of a website was approved by the Board and Board member Randy Elliott began its creation.
In June of 2001 an HRDC student grant program was begun for one student.
In April of 2003 a one-year government grant was approved to hire an individual to acquire information and to prepare applications for a variety of grants, and other related duties.
In 2003, a 10-year business plan was developed with a comprehensive fundraising strategy, grant potentials, long and short term goals and detailed financials, outlining the strategic development plan of Museum in partnership with Municipality to find a new building and to reach the level of Canada’s National Fire Fighting Museum. A PowerPoint Executive Summary of the business plan was presented to the town council in October.
A great deal of research and preliminary planning was completed in 2003 for our Policy and Procedure Renewal Project. In 2004 all Museum policy and procedure was revised and adopted by the Board. This project provides a tangible written plan for our Museum.
A marketing plan was developed that included the design of PowerPoint Presentations to market the Museum to Northumberland County. Specific steps to implement an education program were taken. A database and binder of all schools, camps and day cares serving the community was developed. This information was used to promote the Museum to the school community, beginning with lower elementary school grades.
In the fall of 2004, the Museum received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to develop and implement an education program for kindergarten to grade three on the history of fire fighting in Port Hope, to build an exhibit and to redesign our web site.