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Tiskilwa Historical Society Announces Leah Metcalf as New Director

Leah Metcalf, a Bureau County native from Ohio, was recently named executive director of the Tiskilwa Historical Society.

Upon receiving the news of her appointment, Ms. Metcalf said, “I am honored and excited to join the Tiskilwa Historical Society in this role. I’m looking forward to contributing to the work that celebrates the rich history of this community.”

Ms. Metcalf received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Western Illinois University in Macomb, graduating Magna Cum Laude and receiving recognition as the Anthropology Department Scholar. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in history through Indiana University.

The new director for Tiskilwa Historical Society, Leah Metcalf [front right] was recently welcomed as former director Cecille Gerber handed over the keys to the kingdom. Board members on hand included [from left] Bill and Margaret Wendle, Julie Sampson, and the official mascot, Winston.     

Throughout its 18-year history, the Tiskilwa Historical Society has been an all-volunteer organization. However, to sustain its work into the foreseeable future, the society launched a one-year, one-time campaign in May 2022 called “The 20-year Fund.” Its intention was to invest enough funds to a hire a director on a part-time basis, as well as cover the expenses of maintenance issues currently being completed by volunteers. Through the generosity of hundreds of donors, the society will now have a firm financial foundation for years to come. 

The current director, Cecille Gerber, explained, “I’m stepping back, not stepping away. I think being part of this group was embedded in my DNA from the start.”  She helped found the organization in 2006 and since that time, the volunteers on the board and beyond have made it a vibrant part of the community. The society now has two venues at Museum on Main and Gallery on Galena, has grown to 370 members, and offers free monthly programs of historical interest.

The next program at Museum on Main will be held on Monday, May 13, at 7:00 p.m.  Owen Muelder, author of The Underground Railroad in Western Illinois, will speak about courageous local citizens who formed a secret  network to assist enslaved people in their escape to the North.


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