Sister Alfreda Elsensohn Award

The Sister Alfreda Elsensohn Award for Outstanding Service was initiated in 2008.  It has been a joint award given annually by the Idaho Heritage Trust, 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.

For a full listing of Sister Alfreda Awardees click here

2018 Sister Alfreda Award was granted to the South Custer County Historical Society/Lost River Museum.

The museum is open May through September, each Friday and Saturday, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  Open at any time by appointment for groups of 4 or more by calling (208) 588-4500, 589-7847, 588-2257, or 588-3133. Located at Highway 93 at 109 S. Main Street, Mackay, Idaho