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
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.
Carole West Eight Square Schoolhouse and Youth Education Director
Carole began working at The History Center in 2002 as the Eight Square Schoolhouse Program Coordinator for our well known 1892 Living History Program. She has a background in anthropology, museum work, and free lance teaching. Several years ago she also became the Youth Education Director at The History Center, overseeing both on and off-site programs for students in K through 5th grades. She participates in many community outreach and Kids Discover the Trail events. Most recently she has initiated a summer camp for children and helped coordinate an adult archaeology program, both at the 8 Square Schoolhouse.
Ksenia Ionova Community Outreach and Visitor Services
Ksenia is originally from Yekaterinburg, Russia which stands right on the border between Europe and Asia, and she has been living in Ithaca for over 1 year. With a background in Linguistics, Education and Publishing, she currently teaches online and private classes on multiple subjects ranging from Russian and English as second languages to test preparation for colleges including those of USA, Australia, UK, Russia, and Finland. Before starting her work at The History Center this early July, she volunteered with THC itself, Tompkins Learning Partners and BOCES for about a year. Combining knowledge of teaching, international education, and instructional design, she enjoys organizing and delivering information in meaningful ways to help individuals thrive in a global community.
Karen Binder Office Manager and Bookkeeper
Karen Binder joined The History Center in January 2016 as office manager and bookkeeper, in a position that THC shares with Historic Ithaca. She brings years of experience as a certified managerial accountant, copy editor, and community volunteer.
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.