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Transportation Museum fees start Friday

SPENCER — Visitors to the N.C. Transportation Museum will pay for admission starting Friday. That’s when the recently approved state budget mandates the museum begin its transition to a self-funded operation.
Admission fees will be $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and active military and $6 for children 3-12, all of which include the on-site train ride. Children 2 and under can always visit the museum and ride the train at no charge.
The museum will continue to be part of the Department of Cultural Resources, Division of State Historic Sites and Properties, and museum staff will continue to be state employees. But operating costs — which were previously funded through the state budget at $1.2 million annually — will be fully transferred to the facility over two years.
The museum will raise half of its operational costs in fiscal year 2011-12 and the full amount in fiscal 2012-13. The site will still qualify for any available state construction and repair and renovation funding and will have access to an emergency fund, though it would have to repay any money taken from that account.
The museum will be structured as an “enterprise fund,” raising needed revenue through admission charges, special events, site rentals and other sources. Operational costs will be funded directly from the money collected. The USS Battleship North Carolina operates under a similar structure.
The N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation will continue raising funds for renovation, special events and other needs. The foundation will also continue to operate the train ride and the museum’s gift shop, the Gift Station.
Museum volunteers will also continue to serve in rail operations, as historical interpreters of the museum collection, and helping to maintain and renovate items.

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