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Education resulting in smarter voters is the purpose and goal of the Republican Museum of North Carolina, according to Christy Fyle, Wilson County GOP chairwoman and founder of the museum.
The museum hosted a Reagan Day Dinner fundraiser Tuesday evening at the Wilson Elks Lodge featuring keynote speaker Paul Newby, senior associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Michael LaPaglia, a candidate for N.C. secretary of state, was the guest speaker. The museum is the first of its kind in North Carolina and only the second in the country.
"That's what we want to do (at the museum) - we want to tell the story of the Republican Party," Fyle said. "Because when people know and don't listen to the media, they are going to understand far more than they've ever understood before."
LaPaglia discussed how important history is to him.
"I've worked with everyone from the Smithsonian down to local history places, corporations like Exxon Mobile and the Louisville Slugger factory museum and state museums," LaPaglia said. "I grew up believing that history shows us where we have been so that we can remember where we can go. You don't get tied to the past. The past is something that can move us forward, that we can springboard from where we are to a future that we choose. And in that sense, that's what America is about and how our nation was formed and how we have conducted ourselves over these past almost 250 years."
Newby thanked attendees for helping to support the museum Tuesday evening.
"You could have been in a lot of different places, but you chose to be here tonight," Newby said. "That means you're supportive of the idea of learning history. I love a commitment to history because we'll know truth, and the truth will set you free."
Newby also thanked the museum founders for keeping the Republican Party's heritage alive and bringing it to the public's attention.
"If we lose sight of the importance of history, we will be bound to repeat it," Newby said. "I believe the truth should be revealed. We shouldn't be covering stuff up. We should be talking about the good, the bad and the ugly. Talk about it. That's how we learn."
"Our museum is making a difference," Fyle said, concluding the evening. "It might be one child at a time, it might be one person who walks through our door, and it might not be as huge as the Smithsonian, but we're going to get there because we are changing people's opinions and people's lives. We are telling the truth. We are showing what our history really is."
The Republican Museum of North Carolina is located at 2000 Nash St., Suite B, near the Walmart Neighborhood Market. Its hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.