Boston Museum of Science alarms

Since ImageShack decided to be interesting, I’ve been moving my photos to another server. So I thought I’d repost some here, in this case, one of the most inconsistent fire alarm systems I’ve ever seen: the Boston Museum of Science! The museum was originally built in 1950, and over the years has had renovations and expansions, during the late '50s, the 1970s to the 1990s, and as recent as 2005-2006. I believe the museum has a multi-panel setup (I saw a few doors with “FIRE ALARM PANEL” on them), and apparently has a mix of Gamewell and Notifier…





These account for the alarm signals in many areas, mostly the original 1950s portions. 10" Gamewell bells behind red grilles with remote Simplex 2904 lights or strobes that were added in the 1980s (at least one bell did not have a light/strobe added.)





Many of the pull stations are these; Gamewell Centuries with Stopper IIs. They don’t have “LOCAL ALARM” on them, so these are a later installation. I think they were installed in the 1950s parts in the late 1980s or early 1990s (the pull stations; the Stopper II covers were a later addition.)





System Sensor 2400 smoke detector. These were common in areas with bells.





Some type of Notifier smoke detector; I’ve never seen them on that sort of base before.





The cafe section had these Wheelock speaker/strobes (looks like an older version of the E70 with an LSM-style strobe.)





Pull stations in this section were Notifier BG-10s. I’m guessing they are NBG-10LXs, as this portion appeared to be addressable.





Above that NBG-10 was this Wheelock E70-24MCW speaker/strobe. Obviously it’s replacing an older speaker/strobe. These are also in the gift shop.





Another Gamewell bell with Simplex light/strobe, outside the gift shop.





Underneath that was a Notifier NBG-12 pull station. Some of them were replacing Gamewell Centuries.





The Green wing mainly had these 6" Wheelock bells on pre-ADA strobe plates, but they can also be found in the Blue wing exhibit hall.





Pull stations in the areas with the Wheelock bell/strobes wee, again, Gamewell Centuries.





Wheelock E70 speaker/strobes were located in the Living On the Edge exhibit.





I found this in a handicapped-accessibility hallway; a Simplex bell grille and a remote 4050-80 light! I’m not sure if there was still a bell behind that grille, but it could be likely (probably one of those 10-inch Simplex 4090 bells.) These were the old alarms in the Theater of Electricity. This wing was built in 1979-1980, and most likely had a Simplex 2001 panel originally for that section.





The old pull stations in this section were Simplex 4251-30s. Note that the glass is missing and the hammer is crooked, and does not have a Stopper II cover. I remember the old alarms there from the 1990s, and the other 4251-30s DID have glass in them.





The rest of the Theater of Electricity doesn’t have bells anymore; it uses Wheelock E70 speaker/strobes. The old bell grilles are still intact, but were painted over in black and had the bells and the lights removed.





The other 4251-30 pulls were also removed and replaced with NBG-12LX pulls behind Stopper IIs, to keep this wing consistent with the other areas that were run off the museum’s Notifier system.





The smoke detectors were Notifier FSP-851s. I forget what the old smoke or heat detectors were on the Simplex system (probably those older Simplex 4259 detectors made by ESL, or just heat sensors.)





This is a rather interesting placement of alarm devices.





I found another old Simplex bell/light setup located in the live butterfly garden not too far from the Theater of Electricity wing. I seriously doubt it still works, as there was a Wheelock E70 not too far from it.





The only pull station in the butterfly garden was this old Simplex 4251-30, again without glass or a Stopper cover. It probably still works, like the previously-pictured Simplex pull station.





Another Wheelock bell/strobe in the Green wing. At least one was replaced with a Wheelock E70.





Gamewell Century pull in the green wing. Looks like there may have been another pull above it originally until it was replaced.





Another Wheelock E70.





NBG-10L pull, again this is one of the few pull stations in the museum without a Stopper II cover (there’s also a Notifier BNG-8 without one, not pictured, and those two Simplex 4251-30s.)





Some of the BG-10s were replaced with BG-12s, not surprisingly.





System Sensor ion smoke detector used for elevator recall.





Gamewell Century pull with some kind of bell above it. It might have been one of the original alarms; if not, maybe it was a coding bell for an older pull station? Obviously it’s a leftover from when the museum was first built (also note the cover plate where an old coded pull station formerly was!)



Also not pictured are SAE VA4 speaker/strobes in the Omni Theater.

Whew… any comments?

Interesting mix of old and new alarms…however, it’s probably only a matter of time before the old ones get replaced.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure eventually in the future, the whole museum will be voice-evac. Having a mix of bells and voice-evac is already pretty unusual!

Not at all. Voice evacuation especially on a large scale is very costly. Why do it unless required?



In many locations a voice system would only be required in situations based on the occupancy of a particular part of the building. Very common to only install the system where you are told to and in many cases that is after an appeal to try and limit its installation even further.

Oh, I see. I mean, I’ve seen quite a few systems with a mix of horns and voice-evac, but hearing the combination of BELLS with voice-evac would be interesting to hear.

I’ve seen buildings with horn/strobes throughout but a voice evacuation system only in a single area–a high occupancy auditorium.

That’s also common; I have seen this with the Brockton MA Boys & Girls Club (Notifier ONYX voice-evac system, with Wheelock E70s in the gym, but everywhere else has NS and MT-LSM horn/strobes.) The Boyden Hall at BSU is like this too (panel is a Simplex 4100 with a 4003 added to it after installation, the auditorium and renovated registrar office have TrueAlert speaker/strobes, but everywhere else mostly has 4051+4050-85 horn/lights.)

Then there’s the hospital I worked at. But many areas have voice-evac, while only a few small areas have horns (the Radiation therapy wing has SAE 2DCD+AV32 horn/lights, and the Family Suites wing has TrueAlert horn/strobes!) But in that case, they also have several panels tied into each other, and those sections have their own fire alarm panels that are linked into the main 4100-series panel in the basement.


Probably common in Canada I suspect. Perhaps one of the Canadian member here can offer you a video of the two mixed together.

Keep in mind a place like a museum works to do the best they can with exhibits and keeping people coming in the doors. I think upgrading the fire alarm is on the bottom of the "to do" list.

That’s a standard System Sensor base that’s missing the trim ring.

Cool pictures! I remember the grilles in the lobby when I went there for some school sleepover. I always thought they were some Simplex 4040s or the like.

Looks like that notifier fsp-851 replaced an old system sensor detector