As the education curator for the Hall of Flame Museum in Phoenix, Mark Moorhead and his dedication go beyond the facility’s four walls.
He shares his knowledge with community groups like the Friends of Daisy Mountain Trails. He’ll speak, via Zoom, at their representative town meeting on April 9 about updates to the museum.
“We’re the largest historical firefighting museum in the world,” Moorhead said. “There are around 200 firefighting museums in the United States and quite a few in other countries as well. We have items from all over the world, really, to trace the social and technological history of firefighting.”
Moorhead’s speaking engagements have been limited, as he contracted COVID-19 and it has lingered.
“I had COVID-19 and I was in the hospital for eight days,” he said. “After a week of it getting tougher and tougher to breathe, I finally called (first responders). Every one of the responders, it was about four of them, said they all had had [COVID-19].”
Those experiences strengthened his bond with firefighters and emergency technicians, roles, Moorhead said, do not get a lot of recognition. After all, many of their calls are related to COVID-19, Moorhead said.
“Of course, in a pandemic, a large number of those calls of those medically oriented kinds of calls are going to be COVID-19 related,” Moorhead said.
“There’s more of a chance of exposure to it there for them probably than for most people. I have to say that in the circumstance it was very comforting to me to know that these guys did have it and got over it.”
According to Moorhead, the museum is doing surprisingly well despite the social distancing mandate.
“We do require, of course, masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing from people who aren’t in your party,” Moorhead said.
“It’s a big building, so it’s a good option if you want to go somewhere.”
The museum continues to offer many events other than the showing of antique and special equipment.
“We had a blood drive, and it was supposed to be a competition between the police and firefighters,” said Moorhead, who also works as a journalist.
“There is always that rivalry between the police and firefighters and there was a police officer who got COVID-19 and came really close to dying. He did recover and Vitalant, the company who did the blood drive wanted him particularly for the antibodies in his blood.”