09/12/05 — Historical Association marks 50th

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Historical Association marks 50th

By Renee Carey
Published in News on September 12, 2005 1:46 PM

Members of the Wayne County Historical Association gave residents and history buffs a chance to look back to where they came from Sunday as part of the group's 50th anniverary celebration.

About 75 people filed through the group's museum and looked at everything from a cotton gin to an old-time wooden washing machine as they helped the organization mark its milestone.

President Louis Marriner Jr. said more people should come see what their museum has to offer.

"This is the best-kept secret in Wayne County," he told those gathered to cut the cake.

The museum originally served as a women's club and USO stop during World War II. It was built in 1927, said Velda Faye Howell, 50th anniversary chairperson.

"The women's club donated the building to the Wayne County Historical Association, and the museum opened in 1988," she said.

Since then, the association has offered a variety of displays commemorating various periods in Wayne County history, Mrs. Howell said.

Residents should visit often because they never know what they might see -- and what might bring back a long-forgotten memory, Marriner said.

The 1953 Goldsboro High School graduate recently invited some fellow classmates to stop by to look at the museum's displays of memorabilia.

"They came by and looked around and said, 'I remember this' and 'I remember that,'" he said. "It really brought back memories for them."

And keeping those memories is one of the association's most important jobs, Mrs. Howell said.

"We know where we came from to know where we are going," she said.

Future plans for displays include a Christmas tree contest for local schools based on historical time periods, and specific displays for communities and churches from around the county.

Long-time member Mary Johnstone said Wayne County residents need to work harder to study their family trees.

"So many people think genealogy is hard," she said. "But if you stop to think, they married the boy or girl down the street. They didn't go very far in those days."

Charter member Sadie Whitfield said keeping tabs on the past is an important part of understanding the future.

"In order to understand the present, prepare for the future, you have to understand the past," she said.

The museum is currently seeking more members and artifacts for its secured location, Marriner said. Items can be loaned or donated, he said.

He encouraged residents to support the association's efforts in any way they can.

For more information on joining the association, call 734-5023.