Mission & History

Who is the Sycamore History Museum?

The Sycamore History Museum is committed to “Enriching public knowledge of Sycamore for people of all ages.”
The Sycamore History Museum was founded in 1999. With the generosity of many people’s time, talents, and financial contributions the Society opened their first museum at 215 W. Elm Street in 2000.In August 2005, the Society hired their first Executive Director, Michelle Donahoe. She has a Master’s Degree in Public History from Loyola University that includes training in archives, education, exhibits, and grant writing.In June 2009, the Sycamore Historical Society & Museum became the Sycamore History Museum, and opened at its permanent location, 1730 N. Main Street. The first exhibit was “Journey Stories” a traveling Smithsonian exhibit provided by the Museum on Main Street program. Over 2000 people from throughout the region visited and attended programs.


Illinois Association of Museums, 2015
Award of Excellence in Exhibits: “Connecting a Community: How One Railroad Shaped a Small Town”

Illinois Association of Museums, 2014
Award of Excellence in Exhibits: “General Dutton’s America”

Illinois Association of Museums, 2013
Award of Excellence in Exhibits: “PLAY” (this exhibit was up for 1 1/2 years)

Illinois Association of Museums, 2011
Award of Excellence in Exhibits: “Why Sycamore Works”

Illinois Association of Museums, 2010
Award of Excellence in Exhibits: “Heartbeat of a Community Downtown Sycamore”
Award of Merit in Education: “Junior Docent Program”

Illinois Association of Museums, 2009
Award of Superior Achievement in Education: “Sycamore History Project—Fourth Grade Oral History”

Illinois Association of Museums, 2009
Award of Excellence in Exhibits: “Journey to One Town; The Stories of Many”

Illinois Association of Museums, 2008
Award of Excellence in Education: “Sycamore History Project—Third Grade”

Illinois Association of Museums, 2007
Award of Excellence in Education: “Sycamore History Project—Second Grade”