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updated: 4/4/2014 4:06 PM

Moving Picture: A career cataloging Aurora history

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  • Video: Moving Picture: Aurora history

  • John Jaros, executive director of the Aurora Historical Society, chats with Laura Nicholson-Tom of Aurora about fashion styles of years past. This is one of the many exhibits on display at the museum.

       John Jaros, executive director of the Aurora Historical Society, chats with Laura Nicholson-Tom of Aurora about fashion styles of years past. This is one of the many exhibits on display at the museum.
    Photos by Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • John Jaros stands in the Aurora Story exhibit, his favorite at the museum.

       John Jaros stands in the Aurora Story exhibit, his favorite at the museum.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Jaros' reflection is captured in an old candy machine that is on display at the historical society.

       Jaros' reflection is captured in an old candy machine that is on display at the historical society.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Jaros adjusts a poster in an exhibit at the historical society.

      Jaros adjusts a poster in an exhibit at the historical society.

  • Jaros cleans an exhibit at the historical society. Jaros makes sure the exhibits are in top-notch shape every day.

       Jaros cleans an exhibit at the historical society. Jaros makes sure the exhibits are in top-notch shape every day.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Jaros walks through the gates of an exhibit.

       Jaros walks through the gates of an exhibit.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 

John Jaros has always had an interest in history and museums.

So much so that he decided to make that the focus of his education.

Jaros attended DePaul University in Chicago, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in history, and he attended Eastern Illinois University for graduate work in museum studies.

Upon completion, Jaros did a few unpaid internships to make sure it was the right career for him -- he decided it was. When the position for executive director was open at the Aurora Historical Society, he gave it a shot, and he got it.

Jaros had a lot to learn when he arrived.

"I didn't really know a lot about Aurora," Jaros said.

Born and raised in Chicago, Jaros viewed Aurora as a place that was far outside the city, but the move was a good learning experience that helped shape his role at the historical society.

"Aurora is really a big city all in itself," Jaros said.

Jaros said he enjoys putting together the exhibits that showcase Aurora and its history, but one display tops his list.

"My favorite is an exhibit that we currently have," Jaros said. "It's called the Aurora story."

This exhibit opened in 2012 for Aurora's 175th anniversary. It is currently on display for all to view.

He likes this exhibit because it chronicles the history of Aurora from its prehistoric Native American stages through today. And Jaros was able to get all of Aurora's elements into the project.

"I was really able to do the exhibit I've always been wanting to do all my career here," Jaros said.

Over the years, Jaros has really come to appreciate the city's deep history and diversity.

"The people of Aurora have been a great teacher to me," Jaros said.

How does Jaros want to be remembered in Aurora's history? As a person with great passion for local history and respect for Aurora and all its facets.

"If people think of me that way, I guess I'd be pretty happy with that," Jaros said.

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