116 N. William Street Goldsboro, NC 27533-0665 Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Friday: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm or call for Appointment (919) 734-5023 Fax 919-580-1199 Email: email@example.com Wayne County Museum WebsiteLocated in the historic district of Goldsboro, the Wayne County Museum strives to educate and entertain people of all ages by offering varied and diverse exhibits. The aim of the museum is to collect, preserve, study, and exhibit objects illustrating the history, science and cultural heritage of Wayne County and Central Eastern North Carolina. The Wayne County Museum was founded in 1986 when the Goldsboro Woman’s Club graciously donated its classical Jeffersonian style building to the Wayne County Historical Association. The building constructed in 1927, and the home of the U.S.O. in the 1940’s, is filled with the rich history of Wayne County. The museum officially opened in 1988 and sponsors several special exhibits each year. We are proud to be a part of the North Carolina Civil War Trail. A diorama of the Battle of Goldsborough Bridge is one of the highlights of our Civil War exhibit. The Wayne County Museum is free and open to the public. Museum HistoryFor more than a century the Goldsboro Woman’s Club has been a vital part of Goldsboro’s history. The club was organized on March 23, 1899 when Mrs. Henry Weil gathered together the 62 charter members. One of the very first projects they undertook was the move to see that pigs and chickens were kept off the streets of Goldsboro and that food handlers put screens on their stores. This was done under the auspices of the “Village Improvement League,” which later, under the leadership of Mrs. Adolph Oettinger, became the Goldsboro Garden Club, still a vital part of the Woman’s Club today. In 1902, Mrs. Solomon Weil led the club in the establishment of Goldboro’s first library. A circulating library was set up and operated each afternoon by club volunteer workers. It was such a success that the club petitioned the city to take over the project in 1907. The City of Goldsboro agreed and moved the library to the second floor of City Hall where it remained until 1924. Members were also active in the Hospital Drive in 1911. The Goldsboro Woman’s Club was primarily responsible for the establishment of a full time Health and Welfare Department in the city after club members financed the first Public Health Nurse as its forerunner. The Goldsboro Woman’s Club’s oldest and most enduring project, however, remains the annual Empty Stocking Christmas Party. Funds have been solicited each year for Christmas presents and a party for underprivileged children. This project was started in 1912 with the help of the local Elks Lodge. The Woman’s Club made a request to Colonel Joseph E. Robinson, owner and editor of the Goldsboro Daily Argus, to act as the collection agent and he gratefully accepted. This tradition continues today. In 1915 the Goldsboro Woman’s Club began dreaming of having a home to call their own and began working to raise the capital to make the dream a reality. After World War I the club undertook two ambitious revenue projects to raise money for the building fund: the operation of a cafeteria next to Robinson’s Drug Store and running a filling station that was constructed temporarily on the lot purchased for the building site. Mrs. Thomas (Annie Land) O’Berry was the guiding genius of the filling station and later engineered an advantageous sale to the ESSO Company and a local garage. The sale of the filling station enabled the Club to purchase the well-located lot on the corner of William and Mulberry Street. The cornerstone for the building was laid on June 28, 1927. The Club went into debt for twenty years for the lot and building which cost $46,000. During the depression the Club struggled to keep the building and was fortunate to get a moratorium. On the Club’s 48th birthday in March 1947, the mortgage was burned. During World War II the Woman’s Club assisted with the war effort by helping the Red Cross sell bonds. One week after Pearl Harbor, the building became the defense center with city and county headquarters for rationing and Red Cross Air-Raid classes. It also became the recreational headquarters for Seymour Johnson Field, after it was opened, and recreational needs were acute. The Goldsboro Woman’s Club offered its building to the U.S.O. on a non-profit basis, giving the U.S.O. the privilege of making interior alterations as required. It was opened to the 6 agencies of the United Service Organization in August 1942. For four and one half years it was a place that thousands of service men could spend time and was often their last stopping point before going overseas. Attendance reached as high as 12,000 per month. Dances were held, picnics organized, crafts were made, and the wives had a little club of their own. In the music room, a snack bar was provided and a comfortable furnished lounge, using the open fireplace, was available when needed. Club members acted as volunteer hostesses, chaperones, even sewing on chevrons and doing many other acts of kindness. Club member Mrs. Henry Bartholomew, who gave over 6,000 hours of volunteer service time in U.S.O. work and at the Traveler’s Aid Housing Desk, was looked upon as a mother figure to many of the service men whose lives she touched. In January 1947 the building was formerly turned back to the club. The furniture and equipment used by the U.S.O. were sold to the club for $1,000. Later the U.S.O. gave the club a cash settlement and the club used this money to retire the last $5,000 of the 20 year mortgage on the building. Partial restoration put the building in shape for club meetings. It became a popular place of entertainment being rented at nominal costs for recitals, dances, luncheons, wedding receptions, card party benefits, children’s theater, Girl Scout troop meetings and many other gatherings. The auditorium would seat 250 and with the stage location there, it was a highly requested facility and in constant use for affairs in the city. On February 9, 1948 the city of Goldsboro was saddened by the loss of Weil’s Department Store by fire. The Goldsboro Woman’s Club offered their building as a temporary location and the store conducted business there from March 1948 through April 1949. This substantial rent gave the club the opportunity to finally put the building into sound condition with some needed repairs and renovations. The Club was back in business again with a good building, adequately furnished, and debt free. In 1956 Seymour Johnson was reactivated and the club rented the entire first floor to the U.S.O. in February 1957. The club made the upstairs stage dressing rooms into a kitchen and serving space for themselves, and made access to the upstairs with an outside stairway. A new heating and cooling plant was added and the club activity continued from the upstairs area. The building was returned to the club in 1973. In 1980, Mrs. Elizabeth Stevens, a past president of the club, rented the building, redecorated and restored certain areas of the downstairs for use as the home of The Beauty Works for FAMA, a fashion and modeling academy. However, maintaining the building became a financial strain for the Woman’s Club. In 1985 the Wayne County Historical Society inquired about the possibility of purchasing the building for the purpose of a Wayne County Museum. The Goldsboro Woman’s Club’s Executive Board moved to donate the building to the Historical Society and the membership agreed. Plans were completed for the transaction and the Deed of Ownership was transferred in the fall of 1986. The Wayne County Historical Association raised over $65,000 to restore the outside and ground floor of the building. On December 9, 1988 the Wayne County Museum was officially opened with an event attended by 400 people. Since the museum’s opening, an elevator has been added to the building to make the second floor handicap accessible. Other additions include a wheelchair ramp in front of the building and new handicap accessible restrooms.
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