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Rod Howe Executive Director
Telephone: (607) 273-8284 x 222

Rod was raised in Lansing, NY with both his maternal and paternal sides of the family having long ties to this area.  He came to THC after working for 25 years with Cornell Cooperative Extension. That career included providing leadership for the Community and Regional Development Institute. Rod has a diverse educational background that covers architecture, sociology, planning, theology and history. He is currently a Town of Ithaca board member, a Historic Ithaca board member and a proud grandfather. He is passionate about Ithaca and Tompkins County as a P.L.A.C.E. for exploring our connections to people, land, architecture, culture and the environment.

Donna Eschenbrenner Director of Archives and Research Services

Telephone: (607) 273-8284 x 224

Donna began working at The History Center in 1999 as a volunteer in the archives. She was hired as an assistant on the Historic Treasures Unwrapped Project in 2000, and became archivist in 2001, where she has been ever since. Although she studied English Literature in college and graduate school, her main interest was in history. In addition to her work in the archives and research library, she serves as acting curator and manages THC high school and college programming. Her primary goal is to make The History Center's diverse collections as accessible as possible.

Cynthia Kjellander-Cantu Design and Support Specialist

Telephone: (607) 273-8284 x 223

Cynthia is originally from Texas and has been living in New York for over 18 years. With a background in Graphic Design, Photography and Digital Media Arts, she currently works in the Art Department at Tompkins Cortland Community College as an adjunct and Professional Tutor. She especially enjoys working with students involved in community based projects. Building off of the knowledge of design, her passion is using digital technology channels and history as a way to unite and expose the cultural relationships that make up communities.

Nancy Menning Office Manager and Bookkeeper

Telephone: (607) 273-8284 x 225

Nancy joined The History Center in January 2018 as office manager and bookkeeper, in a position that THC shares with Historic Ithaca. Nancy has a passion for connecting people and place. She has pursued that interest in both academic and government settings through work in outdoor recreation, community forestry, environmental protection, and religious environmental ethics. She became acquainted with THC through her interest in local cemetery history and is excited to play a supporting role for the important work of The History Center.

Julia Taylor Eight Square Schoolhouse and Youth Education Director

Telephone: (607) 273-8284 x 229

As an accomplished community-based theater artist, educator, and facilitator, Julia brings a critical pedagogy to her work, promoting dialogue through creative processes in educational and community settings. She most recently served as the Program Director of youTHink, supporting arts and civic action programs with youth across Los Angeles County. Julia is a 2017-18 Arts Education ACTIVATE Fellow with Arts for LA and was a 2012 Create Change Professional Development Fellow with the Laundromat Project. She holds a Masters in Applied Theater from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Along with her work at The History Center, Julia serves as a Company Member of Civic Ensemble. 1 (607) 273-8284 x229

Lucy Walker, Community Outreach and Visitor Services

Telephone: (607) 273-8284 x 227


Lucy comes to The History Center excited to be able to wear her many professional hats all at the same time. Since returning to her adopted home of Ithaca in autumn 2015, communications and teaching work brought her into various wonderful theatre, storytelling, community building, research, and environmental projects. She most recently worked with the Ithaca Children's Garden, Tompkins Recycling and Materials Management, and Civic Ensemble. She is dedicated to fostering and sustaining collaborations between non-profit organizations in support of the greater community, and is glad to be working somewhere so dedicated to this practice and place. When not at The History Center, she works as a theatre artist and cares for very small humans. Her free time is usually spent exploring Ithaca's parks and cultural offerings, cajoling acquaintances to compost, or practicing Spanish, but she is currently training to be an EMT. Graduate of Ithaca College, native of Maryland.

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