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Why does history matter?

History helps us better understand the world we live in. It involves evaluating many different perspectives and figuring out how past events affect our lives today. At the DeKalb County History Center, we explore where we have been, where we are now, and how we can do better.

The Stories

This year we actively looked for ways to bring in new perspectives to help us gain a more complete understanding of DeKalb County’s history. Below you will see just a few examples of how this work has impacted in our community.


Gather

The Museum Day Workshop was a great way to connect with other history groups and explore new ways we can  work together.

-Participant

Inspire

The "Coming Home" project engages youth in exploring their town’s past and thinking about its future.

-Smithsonian's "Coming Home" project objective

Explore

Cathy, you are really finding interesting information that I did not know. I truly appreciate all you are doing. They were strong people who made a difference in our world. I’m very proud! Wish I could be friends and we could talk!
Thanks

-Karen H.

Engage

Dear Mr. Glover and Ms. Donahoe
Thank you for letting us visit your Cortland History collection, it was really COOL!

♥ Thank You!

From Cailin, Cortland School Student
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Community Collaborators



The History Center regularly collaborates with over 40 different organizations. One example of this work is our annual Museum Day workshop.

Co-sponsoring the event with the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership, 20 people from 9 organizations and 6 communities came together to develop strategies to improve our effectiveness and explore new ways we can work together.

Your generous donation helps us serve as a trusted community resource.

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Thankfully, this past year we are gathering together again! The History Center hosted 87 programs - onsite, offsite, hybrid and virtual to meet the needs of our community. Visitors include those from throughout DeKalb County the country, totaling 93 zip codes (and one person from England that joined us for a Zoom program).

Your generous donation helps us share the diverse stories that are part of our history in a wide variety of formats.

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Curiosity Creators



Creating interesting activities for energetic elementary school-aged kids attending summer day camp is a high priority at the History Center. Sycamore School District’s OSCAR coordinators know we provide weekly programs that include hands-on experiences while sparking curiosity connected to our local history.

During this past school year, the History Center also worked directly with over 1000 students and teachers as part of our 67 educational programs.

Your generous donation helps us offer a wide-variety of educational resources that expand the knowledge of our youngest citizens and those who teach them.

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The History Center’s volunteers are the core of our organization! In 2022 alone, 109 volunteers contributed over 4,500 hours, the equivalent of over two full-time staff members. Their talents are used in every aspect of our work at the History Center.

Not only do these volunteers share their skills with us, they have also developed some great friendships. The camaraderie is almost tangible as volunteers of all ages share their passion for history and dedication to our community.

Your generous donation helps us provide opportunities for people to help serve their community.

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Connection Providers



Working in the Joiner History Room with a professional archivist and talented volunteers, researchers from near and far have access to the History Center’s archives. Here people can explore clues connected to genealogy, property, research, and other questions related to DeKalb County history.

In this past year over 200 researchers contacted the History Center and were provided with over 1000 hours of assistance. For example, a family traveled from out of state looking for information about their grandmother, Helena Dolder, DeKalb County Sheriff: “I am so very grateful to Michelle and Rob for their help in not only locating documents, but also for providing additional information that helped me to understand the culture she lived in and other prominent citizens of the time.”              ~Beth Dolder-Zieke

Your generous donation helps us care for, organize, and provide access to unique historical materials for those investigating connections to our local history.

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The History Center is dedicated to being stewards of the past. This can be seen as our collection grows every year. To date, there are 38,979 items in the collection: 11,064 archival materials, 3,409 objects, 1, 234 books, and 23,272 photos.

One the largest recent donations includes negatives from the Daily Chronicle. The inventory alone is over 400 pages and documents life during the 1990s through 2018.

Your generous donation helps us meet professional standards to preserve the past.

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Change Makers



At the History Center, we are learning more about our past every day. As we have identified gaps in our collection, we are actively seeking information from people who have been underrepresented in the local historical narrative.

The Arts in Action project and the createchange.today website are two examples of building relationships to help fill this void. In addition to the collection of 8 oral histories, numerous photos and other primary sources are being gathered to help us use different perspectives to gain a deeper understanding of DeKalb County’s history.

Your generous donation helps us better understand where we have been, where we are now, and how we can do better.

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“I walked away from the ‘Coming Home’ project feeling a deeper appreciation for my town and its history, and a greater sense of pride knowing that part of my story was written here."

~ Kaleigh, Sycamore High School student

The Smithsonian’s Coming Home project captures student's interest in exploring their hometown. During 2022, 21 students created 8 videos, showcasing 3 communities. Students worked with primary sources, conducted interviews, and learned how to edit videos empowering them to share their perspectives on local history.

Your generous donation helps us work with students and provide them with the tools to become change makers in their community.

Mail Your Gift.
Click the Download button
to get a printable form for mailing.
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Your Gift Online
Click the "Card" below for
Credit Card or Paypal Payment

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