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Exhibits

The Idaho State Historical Society is proud to offer a variety of permanent, rotating, virtual, and traveling exhibits across all it sites to display portions of a collection of over 50,000 artifacts, 20,000 archaeological items, 10,000 maps, and countless archival documents and photographs.

Check back often for a traveling or virtual exhibit you can access from your community!

Idaho State Museum

The Idaho State Museum features over 80,000 square feet of exhibit space with over 500 artifacts combined with immersive, innovative technology to tell the story of Idaho. From the lakes and forests of the north down to the deserts and canyons of the south, visitors can explore each space and understand the important relationship between Idaho’s land and its people and how they have shaped, and continue to shape each other over time.

The Museum’s two rotating galleries, Syringa and Treasures, provide spaces to expand on themes within the exhibits by highlighting additional artifacts from the collection and sourcing national exhibits for display.

See below for descriptions of each exhibit and current exhibits featured in the temporary gallery spaces. 

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Permanent Exhibits

Rotating Exhibits

Online Exhibits

Old Idaho Penitentiary

The Old Idaho Penitentiary features nearly a dozen unique exhibits and interpretive panels throughout several buildings on the four and half acre site. Smaller exhibitions focus on the daily life of penitentiary residents, young offenders, building and architectural history, and biographies of former residents and employees. Exhibits explore the human experience of those incarcerated here and how Idaho’s system of incarceration evolved over time.

The J. Curtis Earl Weapons Exhibit is an additional exhibit which highlights historic arms and armaments from the Bronze Age through the Vietnam War era. From projectile points to Thompson (“Tommy”) sub-machine guns, the displays demonstrate technological advances in weaponry, as well as military experiences throughout the world. There is no extra cost for visiting this world-class exhibition. The J. Curtis Earl Exhibit is not related to the history of the Idaho State Penitentiary.

See below for more detailed descriptions of our largest, featured exhibitions.

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Permanent Exhibits

Idaho State Archives

The temporary exhibition space and A. Lincoln: His Legacy in Idaho exhibit is located in the Merle W. Wells Research Center at the Idaho State Archives. The exhibits in this space are curated and assembled by Archives staff to showcase the unique materials within our collections and educate visitors on various topics. The temporary exhibit space is rotated approximately three times a year, with each display in place for about three months. To encourage further research on the selected topics, Archives staff also assemble a collection of related readings available in the research center.

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Permanent Exhibits

Rotating Exhibits

Traveling Exhibits

Idaho State Capitol

The Capitol Curation Program is the product of a partnership between the Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) and Idaho Capitol Commission. The Capitol Curator preserves and promotes the historic character of Idaho’s statehouse and manages a collection of over 1,000 artifacts and historic furnishings connected to the Idaho State Capitol. Through permanent and temporary exhibits within the capitol, the program provides context for this iconic monument and the place of government in the lives of Idahoans.

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Permanent Exhibits

Rotating Exhibits

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