Exhibits

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 2021.
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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.

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.

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.

DeKalb Polka

Waterman Hall Waltz

  • Venetian Troubadours sheet music cover
  • DeKalb Polka sheet music
  • Waterman Hall Waltz sheet music
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We are encouraging people to discover local history that is all around us. "History: Out and About" will feature historical objects/places that are part of the "100 objects," bonus stops, fun facts, and information about some favorite places that are no longer standing. Each week a new township will be featured.

Sally and Jim Thomson recently shared their comment about this series:

"We just wanted to tell you, in case you wondered if "anyone was out there", how much we've been enjoying the Out and About local township tours.

We've lived in Hinckley for 20 years, but we've learned a lot and seen great new sites through these self-guided tours. Thanks to you and all the township Historical Societies for putting them together. We've had lots of fun with them this summer!"

Townships in DeKalb County IL

Afton Township
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Clinton Township

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Cortland Township
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DeKalb Township
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Franklin Township
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Genoa Township

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Kingston Township

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Malta Township
Week of Sept 28
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Mayfield Township
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Milan Township
Week of Oct 5

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Paw Paw Township

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Pierce Township
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Sandwich Township
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Shabbona Township
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Somonauk Township
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South Grove Township
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Squaw Grove Township
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Sycamore Township
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Victor Township
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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." In April, we invited the public to participate 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. The winner was announced on April 27 "National Tell a Story Day."

Learn More