History Makes Me Happy!

2021 Annual Appeal

Read the stories below to see how your contributions impact our commitment to preserving and sharing DeKalb County history.

A Story of Education
A Story of Strategy



“Connecting history to where children live and go to school helps them see the value history has in their lives and the impact history will have in their future.” Carol Meeks.

Carol Meeks' "History Makes Me Happy" story lies in sharing her passion for local history. As a retired teacher, she sees local history as an important tool to help students connect to where they live. Her passion is contagious and inspired the creation of our junior volunteer program.

As a current Board member and the Education Committee chairperson, her community connections and development of resources inspires our youth to discover and explore local history. Recent projects include working with high school students interviewing local veterans, leading the Smithsonian “Coming Home” project connected to our new exhibit, and kicking-off our new Hands-On History series.

Your gift allows adults, students, and families to encounter, investigate, and experience DeKalb County’s history.



“Our job is not just to preserve history, but use it to inspire, engage, and connect.” Michelle Donahoe

Pull together objects and archival materials, and you will discover how "History Makes Me Happy" is intended for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. While history is complicated, people appreciate seeing themselves and their stories included in the local narrative.

Artifacts and archival materials are powerful, filled with meaningful connections. The History Center is guided by best practices to preserve these treasures, but is also dedicated to making them available to as many people as possible.

This past year, three thought-provoking exhibits were created, programs were offered on and off-site (and even recorded for future viewing), numerous resource materials were added to  our website, and informative-yet-fun social media posts reached thousands.

Your support allows us to care for the collection, make these treasures accessible, and inspire curiosity in DeKalb County’s history.


"My community is important to me and the DeKalb County History Center does so much to build community through understanding who we are and connecting our past to our future. It is a welcoming organization that makes my volunteer experience totally rewarding!" Jayne Higgins, Volunteer

Dedication to an organization takes many forms. An obvious element is financial support. Our volunteers are another key element of the "History Makes Me Happy"  story. Despite pandemic restrictions and health-safety concerns during the past 18 months, our volunteers offered their time and talents in a variety of ways to help promote our mission.

These hard-working volunteers are actively involved in preserving the collection, assisting in research, greeting visitors, leading tours, nurturing the gardens, planning educational programs, providing on-line experiences, and even cleaning.

Their devotion and enthusiasm resulted in over 3700 hours (and still counting) of work for 2021. If paid, this work would be the equivalent of over $75,000. The generosity of our volunteers allows our financial resources to be used efficiently and effectively.

Your gift provides a solid foundation for the History Center’s work today and for future generations.



“We want to continue growing our organization so we can share the rich stories of DeKalb County. Your support will make a difference!” Tom Matya, Board president

Setting direction and guiding growth is another chapter in the "History Makes Me Happy" story. Since being established in 2018, the History Center has constructed and paid for a new building, expanded relationships with both new and old partners, opened four exhibits, and pivoted through a world-wide pandemic.

The Board of Directors is dedicated to continuing this legacy. They remain committed to assessing the History Center’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities while remaining committed to the mission.

Next steps include developing a campus vision to utilize the History Center grounds to their fullest potential.

Your gift allows the History Center the opportunity to look forward and expand our impact.