The Shabbona-Lee-Rollo Historical Museum had its beginning several years ago when a small group of people interested in local history and preserving the area’s past, began meeting regularly. The idea was to encompass the old school district #425, which included the towns of Shabbona, Shabbona Grove, Lee, Rollo and the surrounding area. Since this area included DeKalb County and parts of Lee and LaSalle Counties, the collection of historical information spans a large area.
In September, 1992 the museum opened its doors in the old bank building at 119 W. Comanche Street in Shabbona, Illinois. Our growing collection of records include obituaries, cemetery books, marriage information, census records, (microfilm), Shabbona newspapers (hard copies and microfilm), biographies, abstracts, church, school, and military records. We have a part time curator, board of directors, and many local volunteers. In 2014, a 1200 sq. ft. addition was added to the back of the building for research and additional display area.
The museum is in its 26th year of service to the residents of the area. It provides and services people who are interested in displays, Historical Society programs, family research and history of the area. The museum is open from 9:00-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 9:00-11:00 a.m. on Saturdays. Admission is free.
Schnucks Grocery Store has a program for non-profits to make extra money. If you would like to help and be part of this program, stop at a Schnucks store nearest you (there is one in DeKALB) and pick up a My SCHNUCKS card. The directions are on the card what to do next. Sign into Schnucks.com and add your card number to the list donating to the SLR Museum. Each time you go to the store be sure to scan the card for your groceries or your medication. At the end of the year, the museum will receive a percentage of the total spent for the year. Thanks for your help.
September 4, 2018, the museum hosted three groups of Indian Creek Elementary fourth grade students. Teachers Ms. Faivre, Ms. Pardridge, and Mrs. Socha escorted the students to the museum. The schoolchildren went on a museum scavenger hunt to find all of the articles on a list provided to them. Then they searched through yearbooks, wedding write-ups and pictures on the wall to find parents, grandparents and teachers, then send them back to school with copies. At the end of the visit, we sent them on their way with a smile.
The men in our area were well represented in the Civil War, World Wars I & II, the Korean War, Vietnam and every action since. There are currently 18 mannequins displaying men and women in various branches of the service and conflicts and one war bride. All uniforms and the wedding dress were locally donated.
The volunteers are working on our military files. In addition to the uniforms and artifacts on display, the collection includes binders filled with information on our area people who have served in the military. To include your or a loved one’s story, there is a form to fill out, or simply put together the information, which would include branch of service, date of induction, date of release, medals received, where served and any other information that would enhance the file along with pictures. Please send or deliver to the museum.
This museum has a large collection of identified photos and we are slowing adding to this website. Check out our galleries. The main Gallery will include pictures from the 1800’s to the present time of people, buildings and structures, celebration and more. The School Gallery will have pictures from the first school in Shabbona (1895), class pictures from Lee, Rollo and Shabbona with identification if possible and finally the Portrait Gallery will be photos of people taken by professional photographers. Keep checking back as I add more. There are over 2000 pictures in our collection. You might even find yourself or an ancestor!
The museum is filled with interesting local memorabilia. It is an eclectic mix of school, church, Native American, agriculture and other items which define the communities that the museum represents. A visit to the museum would be well worth the trip.
The one-room school exhibit is set up to illustrate what a child would see if they were attending a classroom in one of the nearly 40 one-room schoolhouses formerly found in the area. The artifacts on display are from several of the original schools.
One room at the museum is dedicated to the early kitchens that many of us remember. While the larger items include a stove and table and chairs, there are hundreds of local items donated to make the room a nostalgic place to view. Items are continually being added to the exhibit, bringing back memories to many of our visitors.