Since opening in 2005, the Midwest Museum of Natural History has welcomed over 113,000 visitors to learn about the natural world through biology, geology, and anthropology. MMNH is a unique museum that features a world-class collection of mounted animals from around the world in its permanent exhibit hall, including one of the few mounted African elephants in the United States. 

The Museum also features geology and anthropology exhibits, live animals, temporary exhibits, and a children’s play area. Hands-on interactive programming is the Midwest Museum’s specialty. Each year, MMNH works with 1,500 students on field trips, and over a thousand more in its general programming. 

MISSION & VALUES

MMNH MISSION — Encouraging our community's appreciation of natural history using shared experiences through collections, exhibits, and education.

MMNH VISION — To connect the community to the natural world.


EXHIBITS

PERMANENT EXHIBITS

TEMPORARY EXHIBIT: WATER WORLD

LIVE ANIMALS


STAFF

Malwina Bardoni, Executive Director
Bethany Gilliam, Volunteer and Event Coordinator
Jess Cunny, Exhibit and Collections Curator
Lauren Orton, Curator of Education
Sarah Trygstad, Educator

If you are interested in careers at the Museum or are searching for an internship, please visit our Jobs Openings page!

Running the museum would not be possible without the work of our incredible volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering or gaining experience as an intern, please visit the Volunteer & Intern page!

BOARD MEMBERS

The Midwest Museum of Natural History aligns its operation with its vision and mission, and maintains its duty to the community by being prudent and ethical in its activities and accountable for its actions. Our museum board focuses on planning, policy-making, and assessing the Museum’s progress.

If you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors, please contact Malwina Bardoni, Executive Director at director@mmnh.org.

Jil Cottone
Jean Erlenborn
Lisa Kammes
, Secretary
Jennifer Lavoie
Andy McCarter
, Vice President
Adam Orton
Darion Page
Jeffrey Petersen
Max Sinclair
, Treasurer
Steven Squier, President
Ann Tucker, Park District Representative
Bernice Schelkopf, Emeritus
Dr. Fred Smith, Emeritus

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

The Midwest Museum of Natural History is proud to be a community anchor for DeKalb County. The Museum has received the following awards and recognition:

  • 2016: Illinois Association of Museums, Award of Merit in Exhibits – AgriCULTURE
  • 2015: Illinois Association of Museums, Award of Merit in Educational Programming – Dissection Series
  • 2015: Best of Sycamore - Museums
  • 2015: American Alliance of Museums – Museum Assessment Program, Operations
  • 2015: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb County’s Finest – One of the Best in Family Recognition
  • 2014: Best of Sycamore – Museums
  • 2013: Illinois Association of Museums, Award of Excellence in Educational Programming – OSCAR Environmental Education
  • 2007: Illinois Association of Museums - Small Museum of the Year Award

BUILDING HISTORY

The Midwest Museum of Natural History has a rich history in the Sycamore community.

The building got its start in 1875 as the home of the Universalist Church in Sycamore, and many of church’s unique features from that era are still recognizable today. By 1927, the church congregation had outgrown the space and built what is now the Federated Church building just down the street.

The City of Sycamore purchased the old church and provided the first of several renovations to create the Sycamore Community Center. The renovation included the addition of a new front, a bowling alley, basketball court, and a swimming pool in the basement.

The next renovation took place in the early 1950s when the pool was filled in and a Memorial Room was created to meet the needs of many service organizations. This is the state most Sycamore residents recall when they think of the Community Center, which served many functions over the next 50 years.

At the turn of the new millennium, the Community Center found itself in dire need of a face lift with much of the building falling into disarray. Sycamore residents banded together to find a way to save the historic building, which led to the opportunity to create the Midwest Museum of Natural History.

In February 2004, the building was overhauled once again with a top to bottom 1.2 million dollar renovation. This included the creation of the main exhibit hall, a meeting/activity room, the Discovery Den, classrooms, offices, collection storage, a new roof, and climate controls to help preserve the museum specimens.