IMPORTANT UPDATES: View Recent Idaho State Historical Society News
Official Government Website

Foundation for Idaho History

A school group touring the Old Idaho Penitentiary

The Foundation for Idaho History is the fundraising engine that powers the Idaho State Historical Society, ensuring that Idaho’s stories are uncovered, illuminated, and passed along to future generations.

The Foundation bridges the gap between the funding allocated by the state legislature and the resources required to create a variety of programs, exhibits, and events. We rely on community support via donations, membership, paid admissions, fundraising events, and more to generate roughly half of our Historical Society’s annual budget for initiatives that touch every corner of our state. It would not be possible to safeguard the stories and artifacts of our past without time, energy, expertise, and resources from the Foundation’s generous statewide members and donors.

Creating Impact

The Foundation for Idaho History relies on donor contributions to support ambitious projects for ISHS including:

  • Conservation of the Idaho State Constitution and creation of a replica that is displayed statewide as part of a traveling exhibit
  • Conservation of the 1913 Idaho Suffragist Banner
  • Restoration and preservation of Guard Tower 1 at the Old Idaho Penitentiary
  • Restoration of the landscaping, and creation of an interpretative pathway at the U.S. Assay Office, the home of the State Historic Preservation Office
  • Support for the annual Ray Knight Field Trip Fund allowing students in rural Idaho and Title 1 schools free admission for field trips and assistance with transportation costs
  • Provide opportunities for thousands of Idaho students with National History Day in Idaho travel scholarships to participate in state and national competitions
  • Support for exhibitions and programs at the Old Idaho Penitentiary and Idaho State Museum

Current Projects

US Assay Office

The U.S. Assay Office, located at 210 Main Street in Bose, is an important National Landmark in the western U.S. due to its significant role in mining in Idaho. Assay offices test the purity of precious metals, and the Boise Assay Office became the first major federal government building in the Idaho Territory.  

Thanks to generous support through the 2021 Wine, Eats and Artifacts fundraiser, the Foundation for Idaho History has raised $100,000 of the nearly $170,000 needed to preserve and restore the grounds surrounding the building. The project includes: 

  • Creating an interpretative pathway along the perimeter. 
  • Adding 13 trees to the two-acre lot. 
  • Restoring the 1920s era flowerbeds along the entrance. 
  • Refurbishing the perimeter flowerbeds and plantings. 

We anticipate breaking ground on the pathway project on May 10. Please watch this video for more information about the history of the Assay Office, the current home of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and its importance to the community and state.   

If you are interested in donating financial resources, please visit our secure donation page and select “SHPO Landscape and Interpretive Pathway.” If you, or someone you know, are interested in donating plants, please contact Diana.Burrell@ishs.idaho.gov.   

Idaho State Constitution Traveling Exhibition

Thanks to generous community support of the Foundation’s 2018 Wine, Eats and Artifacts fundraiser, over $30,000 was raised to restore the Idaho Constitution. This year, the constitution and an accompanying exhibition is traveling to libraries across the state.

Our partners at Idaho Public Television documented the pains-taking and fascinating process in their documentary Idaho’s Constitution Revealed 

The community funding also allowed for an exact replica to be made. The pandemic delayed our plans for a state-wide traveling exhibit by two years, so we are excited to share the traveling exhibit Creating and Conserving the Constitution is coming to a library near you! The touring exhibit illustrates the historical context of Idaho’s Constitution and the conservation efforts. The Historical Society has partnered with local libraries to include K-12 and adult programming. The traveling schedule for 2022 includes: 

  • The Community Library in Ketchum Late April through late June 
  • Coeur d’Alene Public Library in Coeur d’Alene July through August 
  • Marshall Public Library in Pocatello September through October 
  • Meridian Library District in Meridian November through December 

Please visit the Constitution webpage for exact dates and more information about this traveling exhibit, Dates for 2023 locations coming soon!  

Ray Knight Field Trip Fund

Do you still remember the excitement you felt the morning of a school field trip? The thrill of getting out of the classroom and into the “real world”? Do you recall the anticipation of being able to experience the topic you were studying instead of merely reading about it in a book? We think all Idaho students should have the opportunity to share the same experience!  

 In fourth grade, Idaho youth begin to explore Idaho history in the classroom as part of their required curriculum. Thanks to the Ray Knight Field Trip Fund (RKFTF), students from rural and Title One schools across Idaho can experience Idaho State Historical Society sites, free of charge, in Boise, Hansen, and Franklin. Hands-on learning field trips to the Idaho State Museum, Old Idaho Penitentiary, Idaho State Archives, Rock Creek Station, and Franklin historic sites take students out of the textbook and into Idaho’s past and present.  

 One teacher from Southeast Idaho summed up their students’ excitement: “Students look forward to this field trip so much they are willing to meet at 5:30 am that day for the drive to Boise and not return home until 8 pm. It is an adventure of a lifetime, learning with their peers while seeing new sights and making connections to what they have learned in the classroom.” 

 Created in 2015, the RKFTF, named for a beloved long-time volunteer at the Old Idaho Penitentiary, is funded entirely through private donations and membership contributions. During his decade of volunteering, Ray particularly loved sharing his passion for the site with school groups. Through this fund, his legacy of educating and entertaining the youth of Idaho lives on by providing Idaho schoolchildren with the gift of engaging in history.  

 Teachers from Idaho Falls to Weippe apply for financial assistance to offset the cost of admission and transportation. In addition, schools, parents, and teachers leverage their Ray Knight funds to take advantage of the unique learning experiences offered by the Boise Zoo, Discovery Center, M.K. Nature Center, and other cultural organizations in the Treasure Valley. We are grateful to our members and donors for helping create these immersive learning opportunities and life-long memories for students.  

Our long-term goal for the Ray Knight Field Trip Fund is to endow the fund so all field trips are free in perpetuity, with significant contributions to increasing transportation costs. This year, the Foundation for Idaho History will focus our Idaho Gives (May 2 – May 5) efforts on raising money for Ray Knight. Please follow ISHS on social media for more information on Idaho Gives and a closing, in-person event on May 5! 

Contribute

Community investment is critical to the Foundation for Idaho History’s work and makes it possible to connect Idahoans to our shared threads from the past to inspire a better future for Idaho.

Idahoans can donate directly to the Foundation, become a member, or attend one of our fundraising events, including the annual Wine, Eats and Artifacts gala . You can make your mark on Idaho history by helping us empower the Idaho State Historical Society to continue sharing the stories that illustrate who we are, how we fit together, and why a shared appreciation of history is critical to providing context for the future.

All Idahoans can carve their chapter in our state’s history by supporting the work that preserves and honors Idaho’s heritage.

HOURS

Monday-Friday | 8 am-5 pm

Closed most state holidays.

LOCATION

2205 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, ID 83712

CONTACT US

JUMP TO SECTION

Foundation for Idaho History Board Members

Title: Public Affairs Manager 

Company: Amalgamated Sugar, Boise 

Major Community Service: Komen Race for the Cure Committee (2012-14); Boise Young Professionals, Marketing & Comm. Work Team (2012-Present): Idaho FFA Foundation Board Member  

Title: Retired – Exec. Dir. Project Controls 

Company: Morrison- Knudsen, Inc (URS), Boise 

Major Community Service: President-MK Foundation & Foundation for Idaho History; Past President: Assistance League of Boise & Girl Scouts-Silver Sage Council, St. Alphonsus Foundation Board; Member of: Assistance League, IWCF; W100 Steering Committee; Louis B. Sullivan Bldg. Preservation, Newark, Ohio; PEO; other non-profits 

Title: Adjunct Professor/Director 

Company: Idaho State University/Lemhi County Historical Society, Salmon 

Major Community Service: Former Idaho State Historical Society Trustee; President, Lemhi County Historical Society; Member, Idaho Governor’s Lewis and Clark Trail Committee; Member, Sacajawea Interpretive, Educational, and Cultural Century Advisory Council; Member, Lemhi County Board of Guardians   

Title: Quality Control/County Commissioner 

Company: Micron Technology/Gem County, Emmett  

Major Community Service: Idaho State Historical Society Trustee – Chair; Board of Directors-Sage, a Community of Councils; Second-term-Judicial District Magistrate Courts Commission 

Title: Retired  

Company: Hewlett-Packard, Boise 

Major Community Service: Boise State University – BAA Board  

Title: Retired – Attorney   

Company: Hoidal Law, Boise 

Major Community Service: Idaho State Historical Society Trustee; Past Pres-Idaho Legal History Society; Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society Advisory Council; Member of Historical Societies for: U.S. Supreme Court; Canyon County; Idaho City Historical Foundation; Latah County; Mountain Home; Nez Perce County; and Troy ; Norwegian-American Historical Association, Scandinavian Society of Southwest Idaho, Sons of Norway Grondal Lodge 2-122  

Title: Executive Sales Associate  

Company: Keller Williams Realty East Idaho, Pocatello 

Major Community Service: Idaho State Historical Society Trustee, Past Pres-Idaho Assoc. of Realtors, Past Rotary District Governor, Past Pres/Member Pocatello City Council, Chair-BOD-Citizens Community Bank, Past Regional VP Nat’l Assoc. of Realtors, Past Chair-Idaho State Civic Symphony BOD, Past Chair-United Way SE Idaho, Past Pres-The Grand Teton Council, Boy Scouts of America, Past BOD Greater Idaho Chapter-American Red Cross 

Title: President 

Company: Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, Boise 

Major Community Service: Boise State Alumni President 2004-2005; Bronco Athletics Association; Timberline High School Booster Board; Formerly: Ducks Unlimited-Eagle Chapter Board/Life Member, Idaho Mountain Search & Rescue, Board Member-Idaho Chapter of American Red Cross, Advisor- Idaho Business Week, East Boise Little League Baseball Coach  

Title: Attorney  

Company: Leroy Law Office, Boise 

Major Community Service: Foundation for Idaho History Board founding member, Idaho Attorney General, Lt. Governor, US Nuclear Waste Negotiator 

 

Title: Elmore County Homesteader 

Business: Package print management software, Mayfield 

Major Community Service: The Ambrose School  

Title: Business Development Officer  

Company: Idaho Central Credit Union, Boise 

Major Community Service: Idaho Foodbank, Nampa School District, Idaho Youth Ranch, Festival of Trees, Toys for Tots, WCA, Leadership Boise

Title: Retired-Dir. Corp. Giving and Philanthropy 

Company: Sanofi Pharmaceutical Foundation, Eagle 

Major Community Service: Active member IWF Idaho; Prior Boards: National Hospice Foundation, Conference Board Council on Social Responsibility, New Jersey Battered Women Services, Operation Smile, University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey, The United Way, and many others; Received national several awards for her significant corporate accomplishments

Title: Dir. Strategic Communications 

Company: Optum Idaho. Boise 

Major Community Service: Advisory Board, U of I School of Journalism and Mass Media, Bishop Kelly High School fundraising 

Title: Vice President, Branch Mgr. 

Company: Zions Bank, Meridian 

 

Title: Professor  

Company: College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls 

Major Community Service: Director of Preservation Twin Falls, Gooding County Historical Society board member  

ver: 3.5.1 | last updated: