Cooperative effort led to story of fire at Mt. Shasta Museum

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Museum volunteers Linda Siegel, Judie Cockburn and Ned Boss have been putting together the displays for the museum's new exhibit, “Fire! Fire! – The Many Faces of Flame.” The National Smokejumper Association has loaned a mannequin wearing a jump suit to the museum for the exhibit. Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum has borrowed a hose cart and other historical fire tools from McCloud Heritage Museum. The Opening Night Celebration is Friday, April 1.

The cooperative effort involved in researching and installing the new exhibit at Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum will be highlighted during an Opening Night Celebration Friday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Working with the museum on the “Fire! Fire! – The Many Faces of Flame” exhibit were the US Forest Service, National Smokejumper Association, CAL FIRE, and Mt. Shasta Fire Department.

The fire engine being featured on Opening Night is loaned from Wes Melo, the oldest son of Frank Melo, who was Mount Shasta’s Fire Chief for 51 years. The 1938 Stakeside Truck is being borrowed from the Forest Service.

The parachute and smokejumper manikin were obtained from Chuck Sheley of the National Smokejumper Association. The fire finder and its base have been borrowed from the Forest Service.

“This is definitely a cooperative effort of many people and many organizations,” states Museum executive director Jean Nels in a press release.

She was part of the project crew that planned, researched and installed the exhibit, along with Ned Boss, Jim McChesney, Eric Dyck, Ted Marconi, Chris Schneider, Julie Cassidy, and Pat Titus.

“Rebeca Franco submitted many photos of fires that have been used in the exhibit panels,” according to Nels. “Many other volunteers have given their time to assist with installing the exhibit and the artifacts.”

Boss, a board member for the Museum and chairman of the committee for the exhibit, explained how it came together.

“We have discussed this project for several years and have planned for, designed, and constructed the exhibit during the present winter when the museum was closed,” Boss states in the release. “We are amazed at the community interest in providing information and artifacts; this includes individual people, our local fire departments, forest service, other government agencies, and neighboring museums. We thank you all.”

“Volunteering at a museum is like continuing your education,” according to board president and fire committee member Jim McChesney. “Every new exhibit we design and build requires extensive research. We interview people, we read book after book on the subject and do endless Internet searches to make sure we get it right. What could be more fun than that! But what it really boils down to is the people we meet by doing these projects, and the compliments that come from doing a good job.”

Museum volunteer coordinator Judie Cockburn said, “I love volunteering at the museum. Every time I work here I learn something new about our area. People who come in are from all over the place. I have even had groups from China and Israel come in. They all say how much they like the museum and the area.”

Boss encourages everyone to come to the Opening Night Celebration.

“This is an event you do not want to miss,” he said. “The second room of the Museum has a mural with the 1917 fire on Mt. Shasta Blvd. (Walnut Street). In our Donna Kohn Brooks Events Room, there are displays and information on how the Indians and early settlers used fire for their livelihood.

“We go onto the history of local fire departments, Forest Service operations, mountaintop lookouts, smoke and fire jumpers, old and new fire engines, the recent Boles Fire in the City of Weed, and much more. Your participation in joining us will help fund the Mt. Shasta Museum operation in the year 2016. I hope to see you then, and I will thank you all for coming.”

Tickets for the Opening Night Celebration are $15 pre-sale or $20 at the door. Appetizers will be provided and there will be a no-host beverage bar.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Museum,, 530-926-5508, or going to their website, Tickets are also available in Mount Shasta at Village Books and the Chamber of Commerce.

The Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum is a tax-exempt non-profit organization. It is located at 1 North Old Stage Road in Mount Shasta.