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Take a Walk Back in Time at Idaho’s History Museums

Through the collection of artifacts, photographs, documents and other items, museums throughout Idaho seek to capture local histories of the people, places and industries that were developing at the time. Among the most popular are Bonner County Historical Museum (Sandpoint), the Mountain Home Historical Museum and Jerome County Historical Museum (Jerome) that also includes a moving exhibition on the Hunt Japanese-American Relocation Center that was once there.

There are cultural museums and centers that focus on the people in their communities. These include museums like The Basque Museum & Cultural Center in Boise, Our Memories Indian Creek Museum in Caldwell and the Museum of North Idaho in Coeur d'Alene which includes a deep look on the region’s steamboats, sawmills, railroads, and agriculture, as well as the Cataldo Mission and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe.

You’ll also find intriguing museums that provide a deeper understanding of the area’s famous contributions. For instance, the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls referred to the "Intermountain West's Premier Museum," boasts permanent exhibits covering “Lewis and Clark in Idaho” and “The Race for Atomic Power.” And you won’t want to miss The Potato Museum in Blackfoot set inside the historic Oregon Short Line Railroad Depot.

Basque Museum & Cultural Center

Enjoy a historical tour in Idaho. The Basque Museum & Cultural Center, located in Boise, provides visitors an opportunity to learn about the Basque communities in Idaho. The exhibit "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Basques" was featured at the Ellis Island National Monument Museum in New York City.

Stroll through the museum to view the displays of artifacts, photographs and materials or listen to the audio tapes. Enjoy a tour of the center, to learn more about the Basque culture and history or browse the library for additional research. The center provides educational opportunities for everyone, no matter what age. The first Basque preschool in the country is located at the center.

Bonner County Historical Museum

Experience the history of Idaho. The Bonner County Historical Museum in Sandpoint is located in beautiful Lakeview Park. The museum was built on the site of the old Fairgrounds in 1980. Visit this incredible museum to view the collection of documents, photographs and artifacts on display from thirty-year-old collections.

The featured exhibits include stories of the longest residents of Bonner County and the history of downtown Sandpoint. After touring the museum, admire the view of Lake Pend Oreille from the park and watch the kids play at the playground. During your travels in the Idaho Panhandle, be sure to make the most of it by visiting the Bonner County Historical Museum.

Jerome County Historical Museum

Experience Idaho history. Visit the Jerome County Historical Museum in downtown Jerome for a better understanding of the history of southern Idaho. Stroll through the museum to view the displays on the North Side Irrigation Project and the Hunt Japanese American Relocation Center. Spend time in the large research library to view the agricultural photographs, documents, historical artifacts, newspapers and books.

The summer-time "Live History Day" featuring life at the turn of the century, is a fun family event. Enjoy learning about this high desert area of Idaho by also visiting the Idaho Farm and Ranch Agricultural Museum, just north of Twin Falls. Learn about Idaho's agricultural heritage, while at the museum.

Mountain Home Historical Museum

Found along Interstate 84, the Mountain Home Historical Museum is located in Mountain Home of southwestern Idaho. The museum is housed in the former Carnegie Public Library – built in 1908 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Mountain Home Historical Museum exhibits artifacts from both Mountain Home’s mining, agriculture, and railroad eras, and Native American, Basque, and Chinese culture.

Museum of Idaho

Gain historical insights in Idaho. Called the "Intermountain West's Premier Museum," the Museum of Idaho is located in historic downtown Idaho Falls, Idaho. Its building was originally constructed as the Andrew Carnegie Library but was repurposed by the Bonneville Historical Society when the Library outgrew the space.

Popular permanent exhibits in the Museum are the Race for Atomic Power, which features the first light bulb ever lit by a nuclear reactor, and Lewis and Clark in Idaho, which educates visitors on the famous explorers' impact on the Idaho area.

Museum of North Idaho

Explore historic artifacts in Idaho. The Museum of North Idaho features a wonderful collection of artifacts depicting the history of Coeur d'Alene. The museum is located in downtown Coeur d'Alene by the beautiful City Park and beach along the Lake Coeur d'Alene Lake shoreline. The museum first opened in 1973 on the campus of North Idaho College as a way to showcase the logging and lumbering history.

By 1979, the museum moved into its current location next to the city park, for additional space. Today's visitors will find a wealth of information on the sawmills, steamboats, railroads, agriculture, Cataldo Mission, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the Coeur d'Alene Name. Stay in Coeur d'Alene to enjoy all the wonderful attractions and activities before continuing along your Idaho journey.

Our Memories Indian Creek Museum

Found by Interstate 84, the Our Memories Indian Creek Museum is located in Caldwell in southwestern Idaho. The second museum operated by the Canyon County Historical Society, OMICM commemorates Creek culture.

Our Memories Indian Creek Museum is a 30-room cultural center housing artifacts and interpretive exhibits. OMICM is open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays – and other times by appointment only.

The Potato Museum & Gift Shop

Plan your next trek through Idaho. Be sure to visit the Potato Museum & Gift Shop – built in 1912, it's a must-see southern Idaho attraction.

Located in Blackfoot in the old Oregon Short Line Railroad Depot, the museum showcases the history of "Idaho's Famous Potatoes" throughout the exhibits.

Schedule plenty of time to tour the museum and learn about the entire Idaho potato industry. From the early beginnings in 1847, to the development of the first Russet Burbank potato in 1872 and the processing, irrigation and land development, there's plenty to learn.

Be sure to browse the wonderful selection of items in the gift shop too. Since the museum's slogan is "we give taters to out-of-staters," each visitor receives a box of hash browns to enjoy, after leaving the museum. This unique museum is a sure hit for the whole family.

Ketchum Sun Valley Historical Society Heritage & Ski Museum

A tribute to the town’s long history of skiing, the Sun Valley's Bald Mountain, the Ketchum Sun Valley Historical Society Heritage & Ski Museum is located in Ketchum, Idaho. Established in 1989, the Ketchum Sun Valley Historical Society’s mission is to keep the region’s history alive for future generations.

The Museum, in partnership with the Sawtooth Science Institute, offers educational programs on ecology, biology and natural history, while also conducting field study alongside researchers affiliated with Idaho State University.