Wayne County Museum to Feature UMO History

Wayne County Museum to Feature UMO History

MOUNT OLIVE-   University of Mount Olive (UMO) history graduate Rebekah Fitzgerald has landed a position as Executive Director of the Wayne County History Museum.

“My role is to be the chief administrative officer of the museum and to work harmoniously with the Wayne County Historical Association,” she said.  “My main goal is to really put the museum on the map like it has never been before and for it to become a hub of research for the county and for students of our local schools. I want this museum to play an active role in the Wayne County community and offer exhibits and programs that draw attention from all ages and walks of life.”

In the position Fitzgerald will be responsible for marketing, fundraising, planning exhibits and programs, organizing the museum’s collections, managing staff and volunteers, and maintaining records, among others.

“My degree from UMO provided me with necessary historical and religious insight and knowledge in order to have a footing on the history of this area and how it correlates with state, national, and world history,” she stated.  “No aspect of life today has been left untouched by the past; everything from the past to the present is connected. This is why it is necessary to study and appreciate history in order to decipher who we are, where we come from, why we live a certain way, etc. Many people like to say that if people do not know their history then they are doomed to repeat it. That mindset holds a lot of truth. Without learning from the past it is nearly impossible to go on to the future.”

One of the first exhibits planned under Fitzgerald’s leadership will focus on higher education in Wayne County.  The University of Mount Olive will be a huge part of that exhibit and will include a comprehensive look at the institution’s journey from a two year to a four year institution all the way to the present as the University offers master degree programs.

“As I was looking through past exhibits and trying to plan my first one, I realized that an exhibit on the College/University had never been done before,” she said.  “I wanted to create an exhibit that was both new and encouraging for local students thinking about continuing their education. After all, August is when school is back in session.”

The UMO exhibit will include information on the institution’s presidents, highlight academic and athletic successes, showcase a variety of historical and current photos, and provide a timeline of the institution’s major historical milestones.

The exhibit will open Wednesday, August 17 through November 12.  An opening reception will be held on August 31.  The Wayne County Museum is located at 116 North William Street beside the post office.  The museum was originally constructed in 1927 by the Women’s Club of Goldsboro and later used as a USO during World War II. In 1988, it opened as the Wayne County Museum. The museum is also a stop on the Civil War Trails.  The museum is open free to the public Tuesday through Saturdays from 11AM to 4PM, or by appointment. For more information visit, www.waynemuseum.org.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit old.umo.edu.