About

ABOUT MOI

Mission:

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

 

Vision:

Bring the world to Idaho, and Idaho to the world.

 

Values:

CONNECTION • EXPLORATION • INCLUSION • PROFESSIONALISM • SUSTAINABILITY

 

The Museum of Idaho is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit.

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.

History

The Village Improvement Society – a club founded by Idaho Falls women in 1898 to beautify and bring culture to their wild, dusty frontier town – secured a $15,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation to build a public library at the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Elm Street. The Idaho Falls Public Library, erected between 1914 and 1916, served the town in that location until 1977, before outgrowing the building and moving a few blocks away. Meanwhile, the Bonneville County Historical Society (BCHS), which had their eye on the building, opened a small museum in the basement of the Bonneville County Courthouse in 1979. The BCHS lobbied to save the library building, getting it placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and raising funds for its renovation. The Bonneville Museum moved in in 1985. Volunteers ran each element, including creating the original Idaho history exhibits, some of which still remain on display.

Starting in 1992, the BCHS acquired land adjacent to the Museum through purchase and donation, and construction began in 2001 on an expansion that enhanced the Museum’s scope and tripled its size. When it reopened in 2003 as the Museum of Idaho, it became the largest museum in the state.

Since then, the Museum has served more than a million patrons. It has continued to grow its collections and programming, and has hosted an array of high-profile traveling exhibits. For example, in 2011, MOI made Idaho Falls among the smallest cities in the world to host the worldwide sensation, Bodies: The Exhibition. MOI was also one of only four official NASA viewing sites for the total solar eclipse of August 2017.

In 2019, following the successful completion of a five-year capital campaign, MOI nearly doubled in size yet again, adding a new traveling exhibit hall, education center, curation space, lobby, store, and more. An overhaul of all remaining exhibit areas was completed in 2021, when MOI unveiled its much-improved Idaho flagship exhibit, Way Out West.