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.
Make your visit to the Idaho State Capitol more meaningful with Idaho Landscapes: Temple of Light. This special edition of the Idaho State Historical Society’s publication series guides you through the capitol’s construction, history, and 21st century restoration. The booklet is available in the Idaho State Capitol Gift Shop.
The Idaho State Capitol is open to the public Monday – Friday 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Saturday, Sunday, and Holiday hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Idaho State Capitol Permanent Exhibits
Governing Idaho: How People and Policy Shape Our State, located in the Garden Level Rotunda, is the Idaho State Capitol’s signature permanent exhibit. In 2011, the project won the American Association of State and Local History Award of Merit. Learn how the Idaho State Capitol came to be. Explore the history of state government with interactive challenges. Become inspired to actively participate in leadership and governance of the Gem State. Brochures accompanying the exhibit can be found in the Idaho State Capitol Gift Shop.
Winged Victory of Samothrace was gifted to the state of Idaho by the people of France as part the Merci Boxcar Train following World War II. The statue is a magnificent replica of the Louvre’s 2,000-year-old marble masterpiece. Discover more about Winged Victory’s journey to Idaho and the Merci Boxcar Train at the 4th floor rotunda entrance to Statuary Hall.
The George Washington Equestrian Statue was presented to the Territory of Idaho by artist Charles Ostner in 1869. Learn about this Idaho pioneer and his iconic work at the 4th floor rotunda entrance to Statuary Hall.
The Lincoln Auditorium is a functional space within the capitol enriched by artifacts and ephemera connected to President Abraham Lincoln. Displays at the entrance and back of the auditorium were created in partnership with David Leroy to honor President Lincoln’s legacy in the Gem State.
Portraits of Idaho Governors and Legislators have been reproduced and displayed throughout the capitol. Governors’ portraits from 1890 to the present hang outside the 2nd floor entrance to the Governor’s Office. Legislative composite photographs can be viewed throughout the Garden Level East and West Wings, as well as the 3rd and 4th floors of the capitol.
Idaho State Capitol Changing Exhibits
Idaho’s Capitol building is truly the “People’s House.” Temporary galleries throughout the statehouse tell the story of the many ways Idahoans shape the Gem State.
Currently in Statuary Hall: Idaho’s First “First Family”
Meet the Shoups. Pioneer and politician, George Laird Shoup, served as Idaho’s last territorial governor and first state governor. George, his wife Lena, and their six children left a substantial legacy. Explores the many ways members of the “First Family” leave their marks on the Gem State.
Coming Soon to the Garden Level East & West Wings: Miss Fletcher’s Botany Expedition
In the summer of 1901, Mary Augusta Fletcher and three friends set off on a “botanizing expedition” through eastern Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Miss Fletcher’s journey, as captured by her diary and photography, encourages us all to brave the wilderness and chart our own paths in life.
Capitol Restoration Program
On January 9, 2010, the Idaho Statehouse, “A Capitol of Light,” was rededicated after three years of restoration. In partnership with the Idaho Capitol Commission, the Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) played an active role in this restoration project. Throughout the restoration the ISHS:
Inventoried and analyzed the condition of all artifacts removed from the capitol.
Conserved and reproduced all legislative portraits and composites. Framed reproductions were then rehung in the extended Garden Level Wings and throughout visitor galleries. Original materials are now preserved in the Idaho State Archives.
Identified, examined, and restored over 560 historic furnishings and objects from the capitol building which formed the basis of the Capitol Collection.
Reproduced and curated historic photographs from the Idaho State Archives complimenting the historic character of the building and highlighting the function of committee spaces.
Removed and stewarded over 600 boxes of government records from the Office of the Secretary of State, Department of Lands, and Office of the State Controller throughout the Capitol Restoration.
Supported the Division of Public Works throughout the restoration with critical insights and research regarding the nature and preservation of the historic structure.
Produced the Idaho State Capitol’s signature permanent exhibit, Governing Idaho: How People and Policy Shape Our State.
Established temporary exhibit galleries enriching and providing context to the building and Idaho’s history
Worked collaboratively with artist Dana Boussard to remove and reinstall the Capitol Murals at the University of Idaho.
Idaho’s rich history is featured in a collection of reproduction historic photographs, curated especially for the Capitol by the Idaho State Historical Society. These are displayed in committee rooms and legislative spaces throughout the capitol. These photos can be yours as well!
Search the digital catalog linked below to select the images you would like to reproduce.
Image Catalog for Idaho Statehouse
Click the link below for the photo ordering packet; this will include reproduction and use policies, price lists and order forms.
Forms are accepted as e-mail attachments or can be mailed to the Idaho State Archives: 2205 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, ID 83712.
To discuss photographic image reproduction orders please call (208) 334-2620 or e-mail us.
Fees for commercial use and research services support preservation and access to Idaho’s historical archives.