A special honor for the Effingham County Museum: First Lady Designates Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum as a Preserve America Steward

Washington, D.C. — First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama has signed designation letters for three new Preserve America Stewards, one in Illinois, one in Florida, and one nationwide organization.

Among the newest to join the honor roll includes the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association which helped save the local historic county courthouse and repurpose it as a museum. The Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association was formed to save the Effingham County Courthouse from potential demolition. After the county government moved out of the Second Empire-style historic building, which dates to 1871, some citizens called for its demolition. Now, thanks in large part to volunteer efforts, the building has reopened as the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum. Volunteers have performed the vast majority of all the work needed to repurpose the building in its conversion into a place which showcases local history.

Among the volunteer activities, which ECCCMA President Delaine Donaldson mentioned in his description of the volunteer activities at the Museum are: Advertising, placing announcements in businesses, Art displays, Artifact care and cleaning, Board work(Financial record keeping, planning Museum work, Committee headship, Agenda creation, Meeting record keeping, Presentations before governmental bodies), Building displays, Building storage shelves, Carpentry. Clerical work , Custodial and maintenance work, Docent work, Educational programming, Electrical work, Fundraising, Grant writing, Inventorying artifacts, Maintaining the Museum website, Maintaining the Museum Facebook page, Moving artifacts into museum, Musical presentations, Painting, Planning and setting up displays, PR work, Re-enactors, Restoring artifacts, Restoring furniture, Special activities organizers, and writing articles.  

In her letter to the group, the First Lady wrote:

“Dear Volunteers of the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum:  Congratulations on your designation as a Preserve America Steward, and thank you for all that you do to care for our Nation's important historical resources.  The places you care for hold a treasured place in the American story, and it is  through your vision and dedication that our history will be upheld and our future  will be renewed . . . . With your service, you are strengthening our country. Every volunteer shows that we all have a role to play in shaping a better future, and we can do it by honoring  our past.  Thank you again for all that you do, for your continuing commitment to our Nation's heritage, and for your enthusiastic participation in the Preserve America program. I wish you all the best, and I have high hopes for your continued success.

Michelle Obama”

“Preserve America Stewards are volunteer programs that have demonstrated success in saving historic places in the best tradition of the national historic preservation movement,” said Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, chairman of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP).

“Preservation has always relied upon motivated, active volunteers who band together to make certain that significant historic places remain to enrich and enlighten present and future generations.”

The award letter and certificate will be framed and put on display in the Effingham County Museum.

Hours & Location

100 E. Jefferson Ave.,
Effingham, IL 62401

Daytime Hours:
(January-February)- By appointment only and some special evening hours, TBA
Phone: 217.240.2471 to leave a message

(March through December)
Tuesday and Saturday 10 a.m-2 p.m.

Evening Hours:
6:00-7:00 p.m. on night of lecture series, November-March
Other times by appointment: Call (217)240-2471 to leave a message

ECCCMA Meeting Schedule

Board Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the court-house first floor courtroom. For information contact Delaine Donaldson, President at: delainedonaldson@mchsi.com.

General Membership Meetings are held once a month of the second Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the court-house first floor courtroom.

Our MISSION is to preserve our Historic Register structure, to collect artifacts from county history, and to use them to educate our local and external communities, while immersed in the broader context of American history.

Our VISION is that the 1872 Effingham County Courthouse remains as an architectural gem that instills a sense of community pride and provides a venue to
educate and showcase the history, art, and transportation of Effingham County.

Get Involved

On November 11, 2012, the Museum opened its doors to the public. Currently there are exhibits on the first floor and the second floor. On the second floor there is exhibit space as well as room for lectures and other types of public gatherings.