As a fire engine enthusiast, Fred Conway collected and restored many different pieces. Fred showed his collection in the lobby of his business, Discount Labels. However his collection grew so much that he opened a museum called Vintage Fire Engines, Inc. on Mt. Tabor Road in New Albany in June 1999. By this time his collection was comprised of fourteen larger pieces that included hand-pulled pieces, horse-drawn pieces, and motorized vehicles. His collection included smaller items such as models, trumpets and lanterns. However three months later the untimely death of Fred Conway meant that the wonderful exhibit no longer had its inspiration and creator. For many years the collection has been behind locked doors and unavailable to the public; the building is now needed for other purposes.
Friends of the New Albany Fire Museum, Inc.
In 2009 a group formed called Friends of the New Albany Fire Museum, Inc. with an interest in purchasing the Conway collection and creating a new museum with additional pieces and purposes. In September 2010 the organization purchased the entire collection and moved it to the vacated Coyle Chevrolet building in downtown New Albany for storage and limited display. Friends of the New Albany Fire Museum, Inc. have added a few items to the collection and the group’s desire is to open the museum at 411 East Spring Street. The museum will include a Safety Education Center, a store, a room on regional firefighting history, and an area honoring firefighters who have given their lives in fighting fires in addition to the major exhibit area. The museum will be open different sections in phases, beginning, it is hoped, in late 2011.