An extraordinary system of cultural and historical resources.

Idaho History Center

About the Idaho State Historical Society

Idaho History Center, location of ISHS
administration office

Photo Credit: Clay Almquist

The Idaho State Historical Society is a trusted guide through the state’s history and how it has shaped every aspect of our lives — our land, our communities, our government and our people.  Created in 1881 and established as a state agency in 1907, the Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) is an extraordinary system of cultural and historic resources comprised of the Idaho State Museum, Idaho State Archives, Idaho State Historic Preservation Office, and Historic Sites Program.

ISHS Preserves and provides access to irreplaceable state owned historic collections including 250,000 artifacts, 500,000 photos, 40,000 maps and architectural drawings, 60 historic buildings, and 20,000 archeological items.

ISHS benefits Idahoans though key programs including Capitol curation and exhibition; records management through the State Archives, operation of cultural facilities of the state including the Idaho State Museum and Old Idaho Penitentiary, and management of the programs under the National Historic Preservation Act, including the National Register of Historic Places Programs.  

The Idaho State Historical Society serves over 110,000 people each year through educational programs, inspiring exhibitions, fun events, genealogy and family history, research use, and technical assistance.  Annually, over 15,000 school- aged children benefit from ISHS programs and visits.

The Idaho State Historical Society is state assisted and raises more than half of its budget to support services and programs with a mix of fees, public and private grants, memberships, corporations and philanthropic gifts.


Idaho State Historical Society preserves and promotes Idaho’s cultural heritage.


Our vision is to inspire, enrich and engage all Idahoans by leading the state in preserving, sharing, and using history and cultural resources relevant to today to inform and influence the future.


Customer Service.  Stewardship.  Education.  Professionalism.

See yourself in Idaho History!

The Idaho State Historical Society illuminates our state’s future and helps people of all ages explore and appreciate Idaho’s rich past and learn more about themselves. We welcome you to take part! Visit the Old Pen…research historic photos…volunteer…join as a member.

Agency Administration

The Administration workgroup, located in the Idaho History Center, provides executive support to the Board of Trustees, budget, grants administration and management, strategic planning, development, human resource management, information technology, marketing and communications, governmental relations, and Office of the State Historian.

Featured Exhibition

Cataldo Mission, Mission of the Sacred Heart, Cataldo, Idaho
Picturing Idaho
Capitol Exhibit

Aug 5th to Apr 29th

Events to Attend