Lantern Night at the Museum
Each year around Halloween, the Fire Museum of Maryland hosts a special evening event called “Lantern Night.” We turn down most of the lighting, and supplement it with period lamps and lanterns. One of our board members spends several hours wiring up various colored lights inside the cabs and under the hoods of the apparatus, creating some very interesting effects. In addition to the lights, there are also numerous staff and volunteers in period costume who talk with the public and help to liven up the museum atmosphere for the evening.
In past years, we have had 18th and 19th century townsfolk, buffalo soldiers (seen above), American Revolutionary War soldiers, firefighters (no surprise there), cowboys, and 1920s-era mechanics all make a presence. There are some very intricate costumes, and some that are a little more . . . imaginative. Nevertheless, we are always grateful for everyone who joins us for Lantern Night, as their involvement helps to make the evening a success.
Of course, we couldn’t call it Lantern Night if we didn’t light some wicks. We generally have 8-10 oil lanterns lit, and another 3-4 candles in various lanterns lit as well. Almost all of the lanterns are original to the pieces they are on, although we have done away with using whale oil and only burn lamp oil now. The candles appear on several of the hand-drawn 19th century pieces, including the 1875 Marion (Massachusetts) hose carriage and in a hand lantern near the 1806 Pat Lyon hand engine, formerly of Annapolis.