The Legend of the Discovery Place Kids Firetruck

Discovery Place Kids Rockingham

Kids love firefighters and all the equipment associated with these real-life superheroes. So, it is no surprise that many children’s museums include some kind of exhibit featuring firefighters or a fire station.

At Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham, that exhibit includes the opportunity for kids to dress as a firefighter, put out a fire (pretend, of course) that is raging through a building and explore a real firetruck permanently parked inside the Museum.

“The firetruck is a signature experience at the Museum. Kids – and even adults – love that firetruck.”
Joanie Vandenberg Philipp, chief operating officer

The vehicle is extra special to Discovery Place because of its history and how it got to where it sits today, on the entrance level of the Museum near the Sandhills Stage.

As renovations to turn a former furniture store into Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham were underway in 2012, the 1940s firetruck was rehabilitated by inmates at Piedmont Correctional Institute in Salisbury in their vocational auto body shop so it could become a part of the Museum experience.

Of course, getting a giant firetruck inside a museum isn’t as simple as opening a door. Luckily, the storefront windows were removed as part of the renovation and the truck was able to go through the front of the building before the windows were reinstalled.

“It was a big, big deal when it was brought in,” said Katie Herndon, Museum director. “People came out with lawn chairs and watched it being brought in. It was the first thing that said, ‘This Museum is really happening.’”

Today, the firetruck continues to be a big deal.

“The kids just love it. It is an iconic piece of the Museum and it is beautiful.”
Katie Herndon
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  • Discovery Place Kids