The Triangle Fire Open Museum is the tangible incarnation of the online Triangle Fire Open Archive, which explores the personal, political and historical legacy of the Triangle Fire through community-contributed objects. The Open Museum shows real and replica objects from the Open Archive in locations across the city that critically connect to issues of immigrant, women’s and labor rights. The first incarnation of the museum was launched at the NYU Open House in March 2012, and then made its way out into the city to its initial host sites.
Please get in touch if you’d like to be a host for the second round of the Open Museum!
The first Open Museum was hosted at:
The Tenement Museum
Fashion Institute of Technology
The New York City Fire Museum
Museum of Chinese in America
The Murphy Center, CUNY
View a live map of the initial host organizations sites from 2012.
The Triangle Fire Open Archive is being created by on-going community contributions to tell the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and its critical relevance today.
The Triangle Waist Company was located one block east of New York City’s Washington Square Park. On March 25, 1911 a fire broke out on the 8th floor. The workers ran to the fire escape. It collapsed, dropping many to their death. On the 9th floor a critical exit was locked. People on the street watched as the workers began to jump out the windows to their death. Fire trucks arrived but their ladders only reached the 6th floor. The elevators ran as long as they could, workers pressed into the cars; some tumbled down the elevator shaft.
146 people perished, mostly young immigrant women. There was a trial but the owners, long known for their anti-union activities, were acquitted. The fire galvanized a movement for social justice and became a rallying cry for the rights of workers, women and immigrants. Many of the fire safety laws that protect us to this day were created in response to this tragic event.
We remember because we are still fighting for social justice for all.
We are seeking contributions that connect you to this event – a personal story, legislation passed in response to the fire, pictures and documents from current struggles for justice, cultural responses to the fire, everyday objects influenced by legislation and struggle. We encourage you to make your contributions personal, to reflect why you are passionate about remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.
With the power of communal testimony, no one person has the responsibility for every perspective but together we create an entwined whole. The Triangle Fire Open Archive makes the unfathomable concrete to remind us of our shared humanity.
Thank you for participating in the Triangle Fire Open Archive!