Museum in Trenton taking extreme measures to stay open

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The historic Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, closed for the past two months for a lack of money, reopened to the public yesterday.

And now that it has, Richard Patterson, the director of the state-owned tourist attraction, is going to lay himself off for two months, effective April 1.

As director of the museum for the past 13 years, Patterson decided it should be shuttered for two months -- and its hourly employees laid off -- to cope with funding cuts. Now it's his turn.

"If I didn't take a layoff, the museum would be closed longer, maybe three weeks longer," Patterson said amid the clutter of construction from preparations for its latest exhibit. "And I would have had to have the staff laid off longer. It's only fair and practical."

Two months off from his $56,000-a-year job translates into a personal loss of more than $9,300 in income, but Patterson, 55, of Hamilton will be able to make up some of that by collecting state unemployment benefits while he is out.

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