Harold Mallonee, Lawrence firefighter and historian for the department, said this week he is working with a local group to establish a Lawrence public safety museum.
Tentatively named the Lawrence Fire, Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical Historical Museum, Inc., it would present the story of public safety in Lawrence and include a hands-on learning center for children as well as display areas.
Mallonee said the group has been meeting about four months. Members to date are Mallonee and his wife, Sandra, who does photo documentation of Lawrence fires, representing the Lawrence Fire Department, and Jeannie and Harold Longaker and Mary Ann Robison, representing the KU Police Department. Jeanne Longaker is a lieutenant with the KUPD and Harold Longaker is a retired Topeka police officer. Mary Ann Robison, a former KU officer, is now chief secretary for the campus police department.
Jeanne Longaker said group members hope to be meeting with Lawrence police department and Douglas County sheriff's office personnel this week. They also will contact Ted McFarlane, director of the Douglas County Ambulance Service.
"We are ready to go," she said of the project, noting KU police have some items "antique in nature" that could be exhibited.
"It's exciting," she said, "but it takes time because you're involving a lot of people."
Among fire-related donations and loans already counted, Mallonee said, are a vintage fire truck, several hand-drawn hose carts; old nozzles and helmets; old record books and fire extinquishers.
There also are some old fire buckets, including one from which horses that drew the firewagons ate, and quite a few photographs of past equipment and fires, as well as six scrapbooks that document the history of the Lawrence Fire Department back to 1966.
Mallonee said the group has looked at several buildings in town, but hasn't begun fundraising yet.
"We actually want to get a building first, so we can apply for grants to support the museum's operation." he said.