Boston  has always has had a tempestuous relationship with fire—from the great fire of 1872 to the infamous 1942 Cocoanut Grove conflagration (a fiery tragedy that killed almost 500 people in a crowded nightclub and led to important changes in the fire code).
The small Boston Fire Museum in a historic old firehouse (344 Congress St., 617/482-1344, www.bostonfiremuseum.com , 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Thurs., 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat., free) is calculated to thrill the under four-foot-high set with displays of shiny antique fire engines and memorabilia from Boston’s  fiery history, including items from the Cocoanut Grove itself.
The Boston Fire Museum is run by the Boston Sparks Association, a group of several hundred fire fanatics who still listen to scanners late at night and show up at fire scenes to watch the jakes do their thing.