Wayne County history has been front and center in the local news this year due to the County’s celebration of its bicentennial.
When formed, the county became responsible for managing public services which included recording and enforcing the law. Construction of a courthouse and jail, then spelled “gaol”, were among the first two items of consideration in the enabling legislation of 1823. Originally built in downtown Lyons, the “gaol” and courthouse were located near what is now the downtown park. Later, in 1856, a new courthouse was built at 26 Church St. but the new “gaol” was built about a half mile west of its original location, at the top of Church St. hill on Butternut St. in conjunction with the Sheriff’s residence. You can still see this two-story beige building from downtown, with its red shutters, standing large at the top of the hill. Today it is home to the Museum of Wayne County History and headquarters for the Wayne County Historical Society.
Starting on June 1, Deb Hall of Macedon will transition from her job at the County Economic Development and Planning office to the role of Executive Director of the Historical Society and museum. The position had been open for only a few months after losing two recent directors in the course of only a few years, one to illness and another to a career change.
Currently, Linda Stevenson of Newark is the office manager and has been managing daily operations at the Museum along with fiscal reporting for both the Museum and the Wayne County Bicentennial Committee. Hall and Stevenson met through the Planning office in 2022 and then again in early 2023 during planning sessions for the Bicentennial Founders Day and Gala events. Both are members of the Bicentennial Committee. “Deb is very organized and has a good head for problem-solving,” Stevenson said. “She will be a welcome addition to our team.”
Hall has worked for the County for the last two years and will stay part-time until the end of June or until her position is filled. During her career, she has been helping local small businesses with support services through her company, Back Bohne LLC since 2005.
“I am thrilled and honored to be chosen for this role,” Hall states.
“I grew up in Wayne County and have lived here most of my adult life, raised my kids here, found my husband here, and have many dear friends and family members here. I am so blessed to be able to give back to my community in this way.”
The Wayne County Historical Society is a 501 c-3, non-profit organization formed to encourage an appreciation of local history through the collection, preservation and exhibition of artifacts; to share historic information about Wayne County in the region; and to preserve the heritage of the area by helping people explore history in relation to their everyday lives.
The Society was formed around 1957 from the interests of a board of directors who were keen to preserve county history and local artifacts. The organization now owns and exhibits thousands of unique local artifacts ranging from children’s toys, books, maps, and household items to memorabilia, military garb, local products and biographies of local people plus, what is contained in a two-story carriage barn full of maritime, canal, commercial, transportation, and farm implements.
“It is a very large collection of items,” states current board President, Kathi Marshall. “Even with our team of board members and active volunteers, we need to hire someone to manage not only the collection, but the changing exhibits, special events, and general operations of the museum. That is the job of Executive Director.”
“We look forward to working with Deb,” states Marshall on behalf of the 10-member Society Board. “She brings a variety of business experience and a new perspective to our organization, with much enthusiasm for exploring opportunities to meet our goals.”
For more information about the Society and the Museum visit www.WayneHistory.org