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Neighbors of Kane County

Aurora Regional Fire Museum receives $2,130 grant to inventory historical materials

Aurora, IL – The Aurora Regional Fire Museum received a $2,130 grant to inventory and preserve Log Books of the Aurora Fire Department. This grant was awarded by the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board, through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), National Archives and Records Administration.

This collection of Log Books consists of approximately 250 books from the Aurora Fire Department spanning from the 1920s-1990s. Each book pertains to one of the city’s fire companies and chronicle calls, EMS Responses, Captain’s Notes, among a number of other books. This grant will allow us to do a complete inventory of this collection by examining each book to understand what information is housed within each, take a reference image of each book, and create a finding aid that will be available to those interested in researching the history of the Aurora Fire Department. 

 As part of this grant, the Aurora Regional Fire Museum will host two public programs to discuss this project and our efforts to preserve fire history for future generations. The Museum will host the first of two free programs on Saturday, October 14 from 1-2pm as part of Chicago Open Archives. The public is invited to attend a lecture, Piecing Together Tragedy by Executive Director Brian Failing and Museum Assistant Cayla Wagner. Fire can strike anyone and these events prove just how tragic fire can be – come learn about the 1934 Woolworth Fire and 1967 Cotton Mill Fire and how it impacted the department, town, and families of Aurora. This program will discuss the types of information found within the Log Books as it pertains to these fires. 

This collection of Log Books “are just one example of the unique artifacts within our care and we are excited to be able to take the utmost care of collections,” said Executive Director Brian Failing. “These Log Books hold important history surrounding the Aurora Fire Department and the history of Aurora.”

The Museum’s archival holdings consist of photographs, correspondence, scrapbooks, and other ephemera spanning the growth and development of firefighting in our region. A majority of the Museum’s holdings consist of items depicting the history of the Aurora Fire Department since its inception in 1856. 

The Aurora Regional Fire Museum preserves the history of the Aurora Fire Department and fire service in our region through our collections and exhibits while educating visitors about fire safety and prevention. For more information about this event or the Museum, contact Brian Failing, Executive Director, at 630-256-4141 or