Meet The Museum Curators

Posted on 01/27/2016

John Knupple was the first curator of the Firefighters Museum, serving from June 1, 1970 to Dec. 31, 1971.

Sam and Horses - OK State Firefighters MuseumIn January 1972, the mantle moved to Sam Oruch (pictured at right), who at that time was an active firefighter for the Oklahoma City Fire Department. While on duty, Sam's District Chief would pick him up and drive him to the Museum where he would give visitors a tour. Sam retired from OCFD in 1978 and became the full-time Museum caretaker. He gave Museum tours for more than 33 years and is the last person to have held the title of Curator.

In 2004, Jim Sanders became the Museum Director. Jim retired from the Bethany Fire Department. Jim worked to build and improve the museum's collection and outreach.

Retired Nichols Hills firefighter Mike "Rookie" Billingsley served as Museum Director from 2006 to 2014. During his museum managing days, audiop tours were added.

Currently, The Village firefighter Gene Brown manages the museum. And he and his staff are working to continue to update and improve the Firefighter's Museum - and still offering tours in the tradition Sam Oruch began.