Our Mission

4 Values in red seal

DeKalb County History Center is committed to "Inspiring curiosity in DeKalb County’s history."


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Our Vision:

The DeKalb County History Center is committed to exploring our local history from a variety of perspectives; gathering people together through exhibits, programs, and research; engaging with people of diverse backgrounds to ensure they see themselves in our local history; and inspiring people to apply this knowledge to enlighten the decisions of tomorrow.

The History Center also is committed to building the capacity of local organizations by providing resources and opportunities for collaboration.


February: Black History Month

The DeKalb County History Center is proud to celebrate Black History month by sharing stories connected to inspirational people in our community. This work is part of our Arts in Action project, initiated by Healing Illinois as part of an effort to bring people together. This project aims to promote racial understanding by offering a more inclusive and complicated picture of our past. Yes, the project addresses difficult subjects, but it also offers stories of inspiration and hope. The vision is to create a future for DeKalb County where all stories are valued, and all voices are heard.

George Garner

Little is remembered about George Garner (April 16, 1892-January 8, 1971), a noted tenor singer from Chicago.

Garner and his singing group, made up of both men and women (including his wife Pauline, a graduate of Northwestern University), appeared at the Sycamore Chautauqua on August 23, 1925. Garner’s group had toured Illinois Chautauquas that summer and their performance here was highly anticipated because the appearance of this company will "undoubtedly mean a capacity audience.”

Garner, the Sycamore True Republican wrote, had recently appeared in recital at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, one of the most prestigious performance venues in the country, “and one has but to hear his concert to realize that it is something of unusually high artistic caliber.”

Nine months after his appearance in Sycamore, George Garner became the first black singer to appear as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and, later, to sell out the 4,000-seat Civic Opera House. Critics praised his solo performance as “a matter of fine voice, extra good enunciation, and a thorough knowledge of the piece.”

He lived much of his later life in southern California.

Watch our social media and website to learn more about local stories connected to Black History Month.
Explore More!

Follow these links to learn more about others that have impacted the history of DeKalb County, IL:

Share Your Food Experience!

Please submit your own recipes, stories, photos, etc. of special food items and traditions, particularly those related to immigrant experiences, ceremonies and etiquette for consideration in the upcoming exhibit, opening in late Spring 2024. (CLICK the IMAGE below to send it in!)

Every object has a story. The best stories are those that help us understand ourselves, our community, and others. This exhibit looks to objects - some at the History Center, while others are found throughout the county - to tell us stories, which are broken down into four themes: "Daily Life, Change, Special Events and Government."

Click the image for the exhibit online.
Out and About Travel App logo

Award-Winning App

View the video about the app - click here

Two awards for the mobile app!

In December 2022, the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards honored the most successful tourism marketing and advertising initiatives, from convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) and tourism destinations. "Out & About DeKalb County" Mobile App was awarded for the Best Cooperative Partnership Budget B.

At the Upper Midwest Convention & Visitors Bureau's 2022 Fall Conference in Champaign, IL, the app received the Innovation Award.

Saturdays are FREE!

Come visit "History of DeKalb County in 100 Objects"
at no charge (a $5 value).



Sundays: CLOSED
Mondays: CLOSED
Tuesdays: 10 am - 4 pm
Wednesdays: 10 am - 4 pm
Thursdays: 10 am - 4 pm
Fridays: 10 am - 4 pm
Saturdays: 12 pm - 3 pm


1730 N Main St.
Sycamore, IL 60178


(815) 895-5762

History in Action

Tour the CampusClick below
Eng Farm 1944

Coming Home Videos
Click below
Google Classroom Tutorial video

Tour InsideClick below
History Center Lobby

Current Exhibit

On display until April 2019.
Beyond Grandma's Attic exhibit logo

Upcoming Events


Current Exhibit

On display until April 2019.
Beyond Grandma's Attic exhibit logo


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