To view our online collection of previous exhibits, please visit our dedicated exhibits site: DCHC Exhibits.org

History of DeKalb County in 100 Objects

This exhibit will open in 2020.
exhibit logo

Every object has a story. The best stories are those that help us understand ourselves, This exhibit looks to objects - some at the History Center, while others are found throughout the county - to tell us stories.

The exhibit has four themes, "Daily life, Change, Special Events and Government." It was a challenge to pick the objects for this exhibit. We asked:

  • "Which objects tell great stories?"
  • "Which ones tell stories you don't expect?
  • "Which have hidden stories?"
  • "Which objects mean different things to different people?"
  • "Which pieces mean something different today to when they were originally created?"
These questions were not confined to objects at the History Center. We reached out to other history groups, as well as considered National Landmarks throughout the County.

Exhibit Example

Here is one example of an object featured in the exhibit: In the special event section of "History of DeKalb County in 100 objects"; we highlight sheet music from the Gualano Brothers, who lived in Sycamore. Wes Carr, a 2019 Mandolin Champion, recorded these two pieces - Waterman Hall Waltz and the DeKalb Polka.

The songs were composed in around 1894-1895 and have most likely not been heard in over 100 years. To learn more about Wes Carr, visit his website: www.rwcarr.com.

Venetian Troubadours sheet music cover

DeKalb Polka

DeKalb Polka sheet music

Waterman Hall Waltz

Waterman Hall Waltz sheet music

Due to the COVID-19 "Shelter in Place" order, we do not know when our exhibit will open, but we figured we could still have fun and generate some interest in local history." Starting April 12 we are inviting the public to participate in picking a winner in a brackets game; "From 100 to 1 ~ Favorite Objects Connected to DeKalb County History." Sixteen objects were selected for the public to vote on starting on April 12 and continuing through April 26. The winner will be announced on April 27 "National Tell a Story Day." The prize will be a sneak preview of the exhibit and a behind-the-scenes tour.

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