Wayne County Historical Society HONESDALE [PENNSYLVANIA] – A museum dedicated to preserving Wayne County’s history and Honesdale’s role as the birthplace of the American railroad will be shuttered over the winter due to a loss in critical state funding.

“The easiest way to make up for that was just to close,” said Ann O’Hara, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Historical Society, which manages the downtown museum.

“It’s painful. We don’t like doing it,” she said.

The museum, which houses a replica of the Stourbridge Lion, the first locomotive to run on commercial rails in the United States, will be closed today. It is expected to reopen April 15.

Widespread state budget cuts this year affected non-profits throughout the state, with county historical societies taking big hits since their operations generally run on tight budgets supported through community fundraisers and memberships.

The Wayne County Historical Society lost its generally reliable $10,000 state grant, a significant portion of its $90,000 annual operating budget, Ms. O’Hara said.

The museum’s executive director, Sally Talaga, will be laid off until the museum reopens. A part-time employee will now volunteer her services; and one other part-time employee will have her hours scaled back.

Read the full article in the January 1, 2010 edition of The Times Tribune.