KANKAKEE – Connie Licon, Executive Director of the Kankakee County Museum since 2010, has announced her retirement, effective April 30, 2021.
“I’ve had 26 wonderful and exciting years as a volunteer and an employee at the Museum,” she said, “working with our dedicated staff and volunteers to make our institution one of Kankakee County’s most valuable cultural assets. I will definitely miss the challenges of the position, as well as the satisfaction of seeing our visitors enjoy and learn from our exhibits and programs. The time has come, however, to retire and enjoy spending more time with my grandchildren in Colorado.”
The announcement was made Wednesday evening (October 28) during the annual meeting of the Kankakee County Historical Society, which operates the Museum located in Small Memorial Park on the city’s West side.
Robert de Oliveira, President of the Historical Society’s Board of Directors, described Licon’s years as Executive Director as “more than a decade of tremendous success,” citing such accomplishments as establishing the French Heritage Museum in downtown Kankakee and developing new major exhibits, such as “The Story of Kankakee County” and “A Century of Sports in Kankakee County” at the County Museum. “She also was instrumental in growing and strengthening our most important events, the Rhubarb Festival, Artisan Fair, and especially, the annual Gallery of Trees,” he said. “The success of these events is vital to the Museum in two respects: they raise the funds we need to keep operating, and they expose many people to what the Museum has to offer.”
De Oliveira told Licon that he was grateful that she was providing a sufficient amount of time for the Board to identify and hire her successor. “It will be a challenge to find someone who will be able to maintain the high standard of performance you have exhibited,” he said. “We want to have the new person start in time for you to provide some ‘on the job’ training before you officially retire.”
A search committee will be formed early next month to seek a new director, with a goal of making a hiring decision by late January, 2021. “We would hope to have the new director on board by March 1, so that she or he will be fully familiar with the Museum and its operations by the time Connie retires,” he said.
The Kankakee County Historical Society, founded in1906, is one of the oldest continuously active historical societies in Illinois. The Kankakee County Museum Campus at Eighth Avenue and Water Street includes the Museum itself, which was opened in 1948 and expanded several times in succeeding years, the Taylor One-Room School House, and the Dr. A.L. Small Historic Home. The Historical Society also operates the French Heritage Museum at the Stone Barn, located at Indiana Avenue and Oak Street.