About MOI

The Gem State’s premier museum

The Museum of Idaho, located in downtown Idaho Falls, is the Gem State’s largest history and science center, with significant Idaho collections, high-profile traveling exhibits, and a wide array of educational programs and fun events for young and old.

Such great exhibits and a great community partner. I am so excited to see the constant growth our museum is experiencing and what it brings to the community.

Jen D.

MOI visitor

Did you know?

The Museum of Idaho is a completely independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that receives no regular tax dollars from federal, state, or local governments.

Mission

Inspiring wonder and discovery about Idaho and our world through science and the humanities

Vision

Bringing the world to Idaho and Idaho to the world

Values

– Sustainability

– Professionalism

– Inclusion

– Connection

– Exploration 

Our history

MOI has now served nearly 2 million patrons. It has hosted NASA, contributes to groundbreaking archaeological research, and frequently makes Idaho Falls the smallest city in the world to host high-profile traveling exhibits. The museum continues to grow. But it wasn’t built in a day.

Painting of original Carnegie building

A group of Idaho Falls women founds the Village Improvement Society with a mission to bring culture to their wild, dusty frontier town. The society secures a grant from the Carnegie Foundation to build a library where MOI now stands. The Idaho Falls Public Library (pictured above) is completed in 1916 and remains on the site until 1977, when a new library is built.

Painting of original Carnegie building

The Bonneville County Historical Society (BCHS) opens a museum in a single room in the basement of the County Courthouse. The museum starts out with so few artifacts, “local rocks” are brought in from the parking lot to fill space. Meanwhile, the historic library building is abandoned and slated for demolition.

 

Painting of original Carnegie building

After lobbying to save and renovate the library building, the BCHS moves in and opens the Bonneville Museum. Volunteers run the entire operation, including creating the Eagle Rock, USA, street scene on the 1st floor.

Expansion

Following a landmark donation from the Carr Foundation, the institution expands its scope, triples its size, and reopens as the Museum of Idaho. Upon opening, MOI becomes the largest museum in the state.

Painting of original Carnegie building

Following the addition of a new exhibit hall and education center, MOI completes renovations on its historic space and opens its flagship Way Out West exhibit, altogether doubling the museum’s size yet again.

Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

 

One purpose of the Museum of Idaho, as stated in our by-laws, is to increase the understanding of and tolerance of the varied cultures, lifestyles, and belief systems of the people of our region. To fully realize our institution’s mission, we must amplify the voices of marginalized groups.

Our commitment to you, as your museum, is to maintain open dialogue around racism, marginalization, and intolerance, to celebrate Idaho’s diversity, and to encourage visitors to broaden their perspective of who Idahoans are. We hereby share three initiatives representing how we will begin to translate these words into action:

  1. We commit to engaging thoughtfully with discrimination and racial injustices in Idaho’s past and present in Way Out West, our semi-permanent exhibit on Idaho history.
  2. We commit to engaging with external stakeholders to ensure that voices of marginalized people are represented properly and authentically throughout our exhibits and programming.
  3. We will further our efforts in diversity, inclusion, and equity within our staff, volunteers, and Board of Trustees to better reflect the diversity of the communities we seek to serve.

Through this, we will work to foster an environment of empathy and compassion in our community. We have much work to do. It will not only require constant listening to you, our friends, members, partners, supporters, and critics, but also constant action and change in response to what we learn along the way. We are committed to that change and we will be measured by our actions.