SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County History Center will open its new exhibit, “Beyond Grandma’s Attic,” on Saturday.
This exhibit provides an opportunity to look at artifacts and the stories they tell. Many times, museums use artifacts to tell a story about a person, place or event, but this exhibit puts objects on center stage. By taking a closer look at specific items, the DeKalb County History Center will start a dialogue that presents various perspectives that are unveiled by simply asking questions.
The exhibit is broken down into several sections: Firsts and Oldests, Curiosities, Daily Life, Formal Life and Children. Some highlights in the exhibit include a coconut mailed from the Pacific to Sycamore during World War II, along with the question, “What do you think the mailman thought when he made that delivery?”
In the “Formal Life” section, a wedding dress from the 1940s is featured. It is blue. Why? Because during the war, women did not buy a dress they could only wear once. Thus, wedding dresses were very practical and would be worn to a variety of special occasions.
The “Children” section includes a fun selection of toys. Visitors are asked if they recognize any of the games, and then children are encouraged to play like they might at Grandma’s house – playing restaurant, trying on old clothes and participating in games that don’t have batteries.
“We are very proud of this exhibit. Highlighting the stories connected to individual artifacts is something different, and we had a lot of fun coming up with questions for each artifact,” Michelle Donahoe, museum executive director, said in a news release.
“One of my favorite stories in the exhibit is connected to the Chandler Cigar Company. There is a cigar box featuring the ‘Belle of Sycamore,’ which was a very popular cigar. While researching this box, we found out the owner paid their employees in gold! I wish I knew why the owner paid his employees in gold and what the local banks thought about this practice,” she said in the release.
Interested in a sneak peek? Stop by for the docent training at 7 p.m. Thursday. Volunteers will be provided with an exhibit script and tips on how to lead a tour. Docents can be in fifth grade or older. Shifts are flexible.
The exhibit “Beyond Grandma’s Attic” opens at 1 p.m. Saturday. The DeKalb County History Center is located at 1730 N. Main St. in Sycamore. Admission is $5 for adults and free for members and children younger than 14.
For information, call 815-895-5762 or visit dekalbcountyhistory.org.