City Looks To Take Over Firefighters’ Museum

OSWEGO, NY – Recently, the Physical Services Committee continued a discussion regarding the John D. Murray Firefighters Museum. The full council will take up the matter tonight.

In early October, Alderman Mike Myers, on behalf of retired firefighter Bruce Turner, on behalf of the museum’s board of directors and Benevolent Association of Firefighters, requested discussion on Resolution #124 (April 8, 1996) regarding the museum.

The department would like the city to take over the liability insurance coverage, Chief Joe Perry told the committee.

“If we’re going to keep it open, we need liability insurance,” he said. “We already pay the heating bills. It’s heated all year long. It’s kept to 45 degrees in the winter.”

The museum contains a variety of firefighting memorabilia, some dating back 100s of years.

There is insurance on city buildings, just not liability insurance, Gay Williams, city attorney, noted in October.

The city is self insured for liability on all city property, she added.

Perry said he wasn’t sure what might happen to the museum.

“I don’t know who owns all the stuff in it. There are a lot of things donated by families of firefighters and other families in Oswego who had stuff. There are three engines that range from the 1950s down to the 1920s. I have no idea who owns them,” he told the committee. ”

According to the original resolution, the firefighters would turn over the museum to the city, Turner said.

“It’s a great history piece, educational piece for the city,” he told the committee.”

The city would be responsible for the building; the firefighters’ responsibility would be the content, he added.

According to a tentative resolution, the city would add the museum building to its insurance policy for property insurance and would be responsible for liability coverage under the city’s self insurance program, Williams explained.

The museum’s board of directors and Benevolent Association of Firefighters would continue to maintain insurance on the contents of the building, she added.

The firefighters would have the right to maintain a museum in the building indefinitely.

However, if the Benevolent Association of Firefighters or the board ceases to maintain the museum in this building, then the rights to use the building for such purposes shall be extinguished and the contents would be removed by the firefighters’ association within six months, Williams pointed out.

Then, the city could use the building for any purpose it wished, she added.

The committee sent the resolution on to the full council for consideration.