WESTERNPORT - The Westernport Heritage Society Museum recently received $50,000 in federal funding.

The grant will be used for the general betterment of the museum. Possible renovations include the addition of heating and air conditioning, as well as window improvements, insulation, new wiring, basement excavation, roof work and storage.

The museum, located in an old train station owned by the city of Westernport, is home to many items related to railroading, coal mining and local industries. Many personal objects are also included.

Items in the museum were donated by members of the local community. These objects have come from many parts of the region, including Backbone Mountain, the Georges Creek area, and West Virginia, said the society's president, Tom Clayton.

The museum serves an educational purpose, teaching the public about local history.

"We have a slogan that is written on a stone outside the station: 'So the old will remember and the young will know,'" said Clayton.

Schools and Scout troops visit the museum, as well as tour groups from as far away as Lancaster, Pa., and Chicago.

"This is the first large grant that we have received," Clayton said. "We've been applying for the past six or seven years, and our persistence has finally paid off."

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, who secured the grant, said, "Heritage tourism is growing, and preserving Western Maryland's railroad history is one of the features that attract day trip and even international visitors to travel to America's original gateway to the West."

Bartlett was able to obtain $750,000 in funding for projects throughout the state.

The members of the Westernport Heritage Society would like to thank the mayor and commissioners of Westernport for their help and support, and the residents of the tri-towns area for their time, money and donated items. They also thank Bartlett and his staff for their assistance in acquiring the grant.

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