Our Staff

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Sara Phalen

Director/Curator

Sara has had a passion for history and museums since her first visit as a young child to the Princeton Historical Museum, where she learned about the Cherry mine disaster. Learning about history, other cultures, and places around the world allowed her to take in new experiences beyond her rural farming community. She began working in the Registration department at the Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, while earning a B.A. in both English and Anthropology. Sara continued her education in graduate school at Northern Illinois University in law, museum studies, and applied anthropology. She is currently finishing a Master's of Nonprofit Management at North Park University.

Sara joined the West Chicago Museum staff in 2006 as a summer intern and continued with the museum in the roles of education coordinator and registrar. In 2013, Sara became the director/curator. Sara has a passion for sharing local history and the wonderful connections it can make between people. She is also an active West Chicago community member, serving on the boards of the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage, People Made Visible/Gallery 200,  and the West Chicago Historical Society. Additionally, she is a core team member of Healthy West Chicago and a Commissioner on the Cultural Arts Commission.


Siobhan Heraty

Collections Assistant

Siobhan first discovered museums as an outlet for her interest in history in grade school as a volunteer junior interpreter at Naper Settlement. But it was not until a graduate school internship in the Kentucky Historical Society’s registration department that she discovered the excitement of working with museum collections and their power to tell meaningful stories. Siobhan pursued further work with collections through internships at Chicago’s Glessner House Museum and Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, as well as a collections position at the Lake County Discovery Museum. Siobhan earned a B. A. in History from the University of Notre Dame and in the spring of 2015, she completed her M. A. in Public History at Loyola University Chicago.

Maggie Capettini

Education Coordinator

Maggie became a teacher when her younger sister, Katie, was born. One thing Katie recalls is Maggie drawing happy faces on the inner side of her sneakers so she knew which foot to put them on: a shoe on the correct foot smiles up at you!

Maggie brings her knack for creating fun and meaningful learning experiences to West Chicago City Museum’s programming and educational resources. She has over 10 years’ experience teaching in a variety of settings to all different ages. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from Dominican University and holds a B.A. in studio art from Augustana College. When she’s not at City Museum, Maggie enjoys painting landscape paintings en plein air.

Emese Toth

Registration + Research Assistant