March 18, 2019

DeKalb County History Center Selected for Smithsonian Educational Initiative with Local High School Students

The DeKalb County History Center announced that it was selected to create one of sixteen projects nationwide for the Smithsonian’s Stories from Main Street: Youth Engagement and Skill-building Program (Stories: YES). The program is a collaboration between youth and the History Center to develop stories around the theme of the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street exhibition “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” on display from May 11 – June 22.

Stories: YES participants weave national narratives from the exhibition into the history of their own hometown by conducting research and interviews to create a project highlighting their community. The program engages kids with regional history and contemporary local issues, while providing an opportunity to use professional equipment and learn real-world skills. Youth projects will be displayed in the History Center’s exhibit and their digital stories will be shared on Museum on Main Street’s website at The History Center will keep the equipment purchased through the program and continue to make it available for student access for future projects.

 The DeKalb County History Center is excited about this pilot project because it allows students to have a voice in their history. They are exploring the question “What is the future of agriculture in DeKalb County.” With some guidance, students from Sycamore High School and Hinckley-Big Rock will be researching, writing questions, interviewing, recording, and editing these videos. The key to the program is partnerships: students in FFA, History Club and Sycamore’s Spartan TV are all working together to complete the videos. OC Creative hosted students to provide them with an opportunity to learn some professional insights into video and editing.

Funding for Stories: YES is generously provided to Museum on Main Street (MoMS) with internal Smithsonian Institution support from the Smithsonian Youth Access Grants Program. MoMS is a partnership between the Smithsonian institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and state humanities councils. It was created to serve museums, libraries and historical societies in rural areas, where one-fifth of all Americans live. SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for over 65 years. It connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit  


For more information about “Crossroads” visit the DeKalb County History Center’s website, or call 815-895-5762.