The Wayne County Historical Society held its annual Open House Saturday, November 24th. It was a fantastic turnout with over 250 people attending. Attendees enjoyed an evening of food, live music, and camaraderie as they took a look at the amazing exhibits on display one last time before the Historical Society closes for the winter season. Author Ab Rutherford, Peter Becker (son of Howard Becker whose work is the focus of the major exhibit at the WCHS), Artist Kathy LaTournous and several others were on hand to make the evening extra special. Amidst the holiday good cheer two major announcements were made.
The first announcement was made by Elaine Herzog, President of the Board of Trustees. Herzog announced that Executive Director, Sally Talaga, will be taking a leave of absence from the Historical Society for one year. This will allow Sally a well deserved break from juggling the multitude of Society tasks and administration which in recent years have become increasingly daunting for organizations such as ours in this less than favorable economic climate said Herzog.
Herzog also explained that while Sally Talagas absence will be felt immediately, the societys seasoned professional staff, well trained volunteer pool (which Sally cultivated over many years) and the Board Members as well as Committee Chairs will step up to help fill the void beginning in February. At this time options are being weighed by the Historical Societys Executive and Personnel Committees as to the possible appointment of an acting or interim Director.
Sally Talaga has served the Wayne County Historical Society for over twenty five years. The first five years were as a volunteer and board member. She spent twenty years as the first full time employee/Executive Director that the WCHS ever had. Sally accomplished an amazing amount during her years as Executive Director of the WCHS. She completed three additions to the main museum at 810 Main Street in Honesdale. The last addition took place in 2008. It cost approximately $750,000 dollars and included a climate controlled collections storage facility, additional library and exhibition space. In her time as Executive Director, Sally has added new museums to the Historical Society. Through a partnership with the Fair Association, she was able to open the current Farm Museum to the public. With the help of the Wayne County Commissioners, Sally added The Bethel School and the Old Stone Jail museum sites. She has worked tirelessly to acquire another future museum site. The 16 acre canal park with circa 1820s house, lock 31 and one mile towpath of the former D&H Canal has required archeological study and the writing of many grants/planning documents to obtain, but her efforts and those of the many volunteers and board members assisting her paid off. Construction started this past fall. It will be an amazing new site for the Historical Society. Ms. Talaga has written countless grants toward funding projects for the historical society which have resulted in a total of $ 1.4 million. In her 20 years she has mounted 50 major Exhibits. In addition to editing the societys newsletter for many years, Sally also spearheaded the computerization of financial, membership and collections records for the Historical Society. Talaga also found time be a board member for the Greater Honesdale Partnership, serve on the Design Committee of Downtown Honesdale, research and guest curate an exhibition of Honesdale born artist Jennie Brownscombe at the University of Scranton in 2011, be recognized by the Wayne County Community Foundation with its annual Community Service Award and be recognized by the Honesdale Borough for her help in the renovation of the 2nd floor Councils Chambers. Sally has made amazing strides for the WCHS and will be greatly missed during her leave of absence. Talaga will take the time to rest, relax and pursue her research of local born artist Jennie Brownscombe. It is Ms. Talagas hope that this will result in the publication of a Brownscombe Biography. She will continue with the partial restoration of Dorflinger's 1867 glass workers house #7 in White Mills and continue as a volunteer on the WCHS's Towpath to Trail Project and Collections' Committee.
The second major announcement of the evening came in the form of The Cash Raffle prize winners. The winners were pulled in front of the group assembled at the open house, with many local people taking home the big prizes. The winners Grace Rogers $1,000 top prize, Dorothy Keif the $700 second prize, the $500 third prize went to Gail Frisbie , Stephen Mackle won$200 and Carolyn Knash Reinhart of Chalfont, PA was the $100 winner. The cash raffle is a major fundraiser for the Historical Society each year. Thanks to Committee Chair Ann Kovatch and everyone who supported the Wayne County Historical Society by purchasing a raffle ticket. The Historical Societys Main Museum will remain open through the end of December; Wednesday through Saturday from 10am until 4pm. The Gift Shop has unique holiday gifts. If you cant visit you can purchase Gift subscriptions for the Historical Society or Shop online by going to www.waynehistorypa.org.