As an Illinois historian, I not only enjoy learning about our state’s history, but I also enjoy presenting the stories and photographs that make Illinois' history come alive. In my opinion, the next evolution of a modern day historian is to interact with history by allowing others to add to the richness of the presentations with additional facts, photographs and personal and family experiences. This is where a Facebook group excels by allowing feedback, comments, videos, photographs and images to be added to the presentations, enriching the experience of all readers.

In October of 2012 I started the Facebook group Living History of Illinois and Chicago®. People from all walks of life have joined to participate in this social history venue, forming one of the most interesting groups on Facebook. This group hosts junior and senior High School history and social studies classes with their educators, for research and preparation of the Chicago Metro History Fair, the Illinois regional Fairs, and the state competition on Illinois History Day held in Springfield, Illinois.

I've recruited dozens of Illinois community, township and county Historical Societies, History Museum Directors, Museum Curators and career Historians to join the group. Many of the members are in public service including Mayors and former Mayors from towns and cities all over Illinois. In addition the group is loaded with local media broadcasters, including news anchors and researchers from NBC, ABC, CBS and other TV networks, plus radio personalities from around the state.

I started the Digital Research Library of Illinois History® in 2013 to support student research. The Library is sanctioned by and linked from the Chicago Metro History Fair and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), as an Illinois research resource for students, educators and the general public. Included in the Library are quite a few of my personal research papers, including series about ‘Lost Town of Illinois’, ‘Chicago’s Forgotten Neighborhoods’, and ‘Defunct Amusement Parks of Illinois’.

Within the Digital Research Library of Illinois History® is the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition Read Room™. The largest collection of 1893 World's Columbian Exposition antique searchable PDF books, documents and research papers online. Included are special attractions and days at the Fair, and unbelievable 3D rendered movie tours of the Fair.

Because of Facebook’s restrictions on each groups number of posted images stored (approx. 5,000 per group) the oldest ones are deleted when new posts are made, I found it necessary to create a way of ‘Saving Illinois History, One Story at a Time’. So in November of 2016, I started the Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™. The Journal presents history in a verbose, friendlier format with photographs, and advanced search functions. Being membership free, anybody online can add their comments to the postings in the Journal.

I offer our members, and the general public, a free Daily Illinois Newspaper: Living History of Illinois Gazette™.

To offset the costs of hosting and management fees for the Digital Research Library of Illinois History®, Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™, and the Living History of Illinois Gazette™, I opened an online store with unique Illinois and Chicago logo’d items that I personally designed or re-created; Illinois History Store®.

It’s worth your time to take a look at these fantastic Illinois history resources. Please JOIN the Living History of Illinois and Chicago® Facebook group. Your knowledge and expertise will be a valued addition.