Visiting the Idaho State Museum in Boise, Idaho is a must next time you are in Idaho’s capital city. The museum has gone through a lot of changes recently, and it’s full of Idaho history so you can learn (or re-learn) all about the state.
The Idaho State Museum is run by the Idaho State Historical Society, and recently went through a large remodel. So large that the museum was closed for nearly four years while they remodeled the building and added new exhibits.
The museum now has three floors, the lower floor is mainly for pre-K children, the main floor is an introduction to the museum, and the top floor holds the majority of exhibits. The Idaho State Museum is split into different categories: North, Central and South Idaho — or Lakes and Forests, Mountains and Rivers, and Deserts and Canyons, respectively.
The Idaho State Museum features centuries of Idaho history, with exhibits on the Basque Culture in Boise, the beginnings and subsequent growth of downtown Boise, Idaho National Laboratory and Idaho’s nuclear history, Fort Boise, and details on every official Native American tribe throughout the state.
Visiting the Old Idaho State Penitentiary in Boise, Idaho
And of course, the museum would not be complete without sharing history of potatoes and how it shaped the state.
The top floor also includes an exhibit called Idaho: The Land and Its People. Through this exhibit, you can learn about Lewis and Clark and their path to and through Idaho.
The lower level features one of the most popular pieces of Idaho history at the museum: Deja Moo the cow. The two-headed cow has been in the collection at the museum for decades.
Things to do in Boise, Idaho this summer
On the lower level, you can also visit Boomtown, a space for children to interact with history.
The Idaho State Historical Society runs a number of locations, including:
- Table Rock
- Old Idaho State Penitentiary
- State Historic Preservation Office
- The Idaho Capitol building
- Historic Franklin Properties
- Stricker Ranch & Rock Creek Station
- Idaho State Archives
- Pierce Courthouse
The Idaho State Museum also features events, and has a number of spaces to rent out for anyone planning an event.
The Idaho State Museum hours are:
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
12 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.