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Volunteer shortage impacting Pa. National Fire Museum

The museum showcases the history of firefighters throughout the state and the advancements in technology that have helped save lives.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — There may be blue skies above the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum in Harrisburg, but the attraction has seen sunnier days. 

Originally founded as Reily Hose Company in 1885, the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire refurbished the building in 1995, opening it to the public as a museum.

"They set it up so that people who have experience with firefighting can enjoy it, but people who know nothing about firefighting can learn a lot about the history," said Barry Buckingham, the museum's vice president. 

The museum is a walk through firefighting history, from the hand-pulled and horse-drawn to real horsepower. 

The museum attracts 3,000 to 4,000 people every year.

"Interestingly, we get a lot of people from the surrounding states and not as many local people," Buckingham said.

Kids and adults can see the emergency calls of old come to life, while remembering firefighters' bravery and sacrifice. 

Just like any hose company, it takes a lot of work, funding, and a strong team to keep the museum going. 

These days, finding help is getting harder.

"Everything was well-covered for a while, but as the group gets older, some people have gotten sick," Buckingham said. "Unfortunately, like on Fridays, most of the guys that work are having some kind of an issue."

The museum is open six days per week, but will have to cut the schedule down without more volunteers.

"We don't require a lot. We would ask to have you staff the museum a day a month or something like that," Buckingham said. "You would get all the training you need, here, to be able to do it."

If you're interested in lending a hand, you can reach out to the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum on Facebook.

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