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Sister Alfreda Elsensohn Award

Sister Alfreda

The Sister Alfreda Elsensohn Award for Outstanding Service was initiated in 2008.  It has been a joint award given annually by the Idaho Humanities Council, and Idaho State Historical Society to recognize outstanding service by an Idaho museum, historical society, or interpretive organization/association.

The Award is named for Sister Alfreda Elsensohn, who founded the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude in Cottonwood.  Sister Alfreda, one of Idaho’s outstanding historians, sought to collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts from Idaho County and the surrounding area to better educate the public.  A museum is a bridge which links the present with the past, she often said. It is her vision of Idaho museums as exciting, interactive, and educational institutions that the Award seeks to recognize by honoring one outstanding Idaho museum, historical society, or interpretive organization/association.

The following criteria will be considered by the sponsors each year in determining the awardee for that year. Additional criteria may also be considered:

  • Will have a record of outstanding professional programming.
  • Will be leaders in the field of Idaho museums, historical societies, or interpretive organizations/associations.
  • Will have a record of sharing their resources and information with community and statewide partners, thereby assisting in the development of professional level historical interpretation, displays, and preservation of Idaho’s History.
  • Will demonstrate success in collaborative community work.
  • Will be able to use the funding to move to a higher level of professionalism and have experience in administering and implementing grant-funded projects and programs.



While only one Award will be given annually, it is the goal of the sponsors to have a fairly even distribution of the award in the various geographical regions of the state.  There is no application form to complete; the sponsors select an awardee each year.

Sister Alfreda Award Highlight

Museum of Idaho

The Museum of Idaho receives the 2023 Sister Alfreda Elsensohn Award for its outstanding work. Given annually by the Idaho Humanities Council and Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS), the Sister Alfreda recognition includes a $10,000 award to be used by the awarded museum, historical society, or interpretive organization to continue its educational efforts.

The Museum of Idaho, located in downtown Idaho Falls, is the Gem State’s largest history and science center. MOI is an independent non-profit organization with significant Idaho collections, high-profile traveling exhibits, and extensive educational programming and events for all. The museum serves as a cultural nexus with the East Idaho community and a learning ground for people from all over the world who visit the region, often while touring Yellowstone and/or Grand Teton National Parks.

Connect by visiting: Home – Museum of Idaho

The Idaho State Historical Society and the Idaho Humanities Council will present the 2023 Sister Alfreda Award to the Museum of Idaho at a ceremony on:

Friday, April 26th, 2:00 pm
Museum of Idaho
200 N Eastern Ave., Idaho Falls, ID

Public is invited to attend.
For more information please contact:  Camille Thomas, 208.522.1400,

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