Our services provided at the DeKalb County History Center are possible due to the dedicated teamwork among staff, volunteers, and board members.
Meet Our Leadership
Michelle Donahoe is the Executive Director of the DeKalb County History Center and appointed DeKalb County Historian in 2020. She played a key role in the initial discussions of a county museum to the official creation of the DeKalb County History Center in 2018, as well as completing the $1.6 million “History Matters” Capital Campaign to fund a new 7,600 building.
Previously, Donahoe served as Executive Director of the Sycamore History Museum for 13 years, (until it transitioned to the History Center). Her prior work experiences include research assistant, volunteer coordinator, archivist, and educator, with employment at large institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago and Newberry Library as well as local historical societies in Wheaton and Geneva.
Actively involved in the local nonprofit community, Donahoe served as Chair of the Steering Committee for the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership until 2020. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History as well as a Master’s in Public History, with concentration in museum education from Loyola University in Chicago. In 2019, she was elected to the Illinois Association of Museums board of directors.
In looking to the future, Donahoe’s vision for the History Center’s is strongly connected to the mission, “Inspiring curiosity in DeKalb County’s history.” She sees the potential for significant impact due to the creativity and commitment of the board, members, volunteers, and community supporters. Even during these unique and historical times, she believes that building upon the History Center’s solid foundation will provide many opportunities for collaboration, partnerships, and inspiration.
Rob Glover is the Director of the Joiner History Room and serves as an archivist and collection specialist at the DeKalb County History Center. Rob has a Master of Arts in History with an Emphasis in Public History from Northern Illinois University. He is also Executive Director of the Glidden Homestead, and previously worked as a consultant on a variety of projects at the History Center. His other experience includes working as an archivist for NIU’s Regional History Center and since 2009 volunteering at the Sycamore History Museum and then DeKalb County History Center. Rob has processed, preserved, digitized, and created metadata as well as managed large collections and archival records across both digital and physical formats.
In addition to working in the collection, he also spend many hours training and supervising volunteers (both on and off-site).
John Boies, Sycamore
Kevin Bunge, Clare
Steve Faivre, Sycamore
Dave Finney, Sycamore
Gary Hanson, DeKalb
Bill Lenschow, Sycamore
Tom Matya, DeKalb
Carol Meeks, Sycamore
Orrin Merritt, Genoa
Bob Pritchard, Hinckley
Anna Schelkopf, Sycamore
Jamie Walter, DeKalb
City of Sycamore
Our mission is to "Inspire curiosity in DeKalb County’s history."
The DeKalb County History Center is committed to exploring the rich stories that are part of our county’s history; 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 DeKalb County History Center also places a high priority on building the capacity of local organizations by providing resources and opportunities for collaboration.
CollectionReflect the significant stories of DeKalb County through artifacts and archival materials.
EducationEngage and inspire visitors through programming and exhibits based in solid research.
Diversity, Equity, and InclusionPrioritize the experiences of people whose history is underrepresented in the collection, programming, or educational resources.
PreservationCare for artifacts and archival materials in ways that meet best practices.
ResearchShare historical resources in person and on-line with researchers locally, nationally, and internationally.
PartnershipsBuild strategic collaborations with local organizations to promote, enhance, and expand upon concepts connected to DeKalb County history.
FundingSecure resources county wide for a sustainable future.
The DeKalb County History Center segued from Sycamore History Museum in 2018 and provides a county-wide emphasis with its mission and vision. The new building is situated on the Engh Farm property.
Joiner History Room is resident in the new DeKalb County History Center building and continues in the mission to provide county-wide preservation and historical research support.
Sycamore Fire Preservation Company houses their 1923 Stuz Fire Truck in the garage previously used for programming by the Sycamore History Museum.