Learn about the dramatic scientific and political adventure that occurred in Idaho’s own backyard including information about the first usable amounts of electricity produced by a nuclear reactor, the first city to be powered by nuclear energy, the birth of the nuclear navy, and many other important advances in nuclear power.
This display includes the first light bulb ever lit by a nuclear reactor (fully fueled with plutonium) as well as graphite from the world’s first nuclear reactor, EBR-1.
Funded in part by the Save America’s Treasure’s Program with matching funds from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Bechtel National, Bechtel BWXT-ID, Argonne National Lab, and others, the exhibits were developed by the Atomic Heritage Foundation under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy-Idaho. Academy Studios of Novato, CA designed and fabricated the museum exhibits.
The Local Idaho History section of the museum is filled with fascinating artifacts, including The Andrew Henry Rock which is inscribed with the earliest known writing found in Idaho,and a flag with blood stains that was carried in the Civil War by Joseph Lawyer.
The Idaho History section of the museum is also home to our Lewis and Clark memorabilia which includes Corps of Discovery items including a 1/6th scale reproduction of the keelboat that Lewis and Clark used at the beginning of their journey. Our Lewis and Clark collection is made complete with American Indian artifacts from the Lakota Sioux Nation, Shoshoni and Lemhi-Shoshone Indians including a brain tanned buffalo hide tipi, a bull boat, weapons, clothing, headdresses and tools.
The most popular feature of the Idaho History section of the museum is the schoolhouse, a replica of the first school house built in Eagle Rock during 1882 that is fully outfitted with desks, a pot-bellied stove, books and slates. It is such a lively reproduction that it is easy to believe class is just about to begin.
The Carnegie building was completed during 1917, which makes it a historical treasure in and of itself. Nestled in the basement is where the magic happens. During the late 1980’s a dedicated team of volunteers recreated Eagle Rock circa 1890. More than twenty years later, people are still enchanted by the little details that bring the town to life.
From the moment you enter and hear the sounds of the horses, birds and pedestrian traffic it feels as if you have stepped back in time. Eagle Rock is a tiny historical city, complete with Dr. J.E. Bennett’s doctors office, J. Olley’s Barbershop, J. Ed Smith Attorney’s office, the Blacksmith barn and the carpenter shop where you could get your boots fixed and fitted for a casket in a single stop.
In total there are 10 storefronts to gaze into, and each place is stuffed with artifacts from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The light post in the center of the city is the original kerosene lamp from Eagle Rock. The x-ray machine in Dr. Bennett’s office is still functional. J Olley’s Barbershop is built to scale: it really was the size of closet.
There are also hidden surprises that you might miss. There are five birds nests, one cat and a mouse residing in the town. You can pick out your false teeth in a variety of colors, and tucked in a corner is a machine that flattens gold so that it can be turned into fillings. There is a pile of hair, a ledger listing patients and ailments, a variety of canned goods and penny candies, fancy hats and even a shady lady beckoning from behind the glass.
Eagle Rock was the beginning of Idaho Falls, and the town in the basement of the MOI was the forerunner of what would become the Museum of Idaho. Come enjoy our local heritage and see the dedication to preservation and craftsmanship that continues to propel the MOI into the future.
Children of all ages will agree that a visit to the Museum of Idaho isn’t complete until you’ve experienced our Children’s Discovery Room. Children can enjoy an endless array of hands’-on activities such as, crawling through a bear cave or beaver dam, pretending to be an Indian in an authentic tipi, playing in an early pioneer log cabin, or participating in a variety of rotating educational “work” stations. Rich murals combine with elaborate 3D landscaping to immerse children in a variety of Eastern Idaho landscapes. As children travel from a lush Idaho forest to the stark contrast of the Snake River plains, they are invited to pretend, explore, test, listen, and tinker in this fun-filled interactive world designed to engage their imaginations and spark their creativity.
Whatever they choose, they are sure to be delighted and educated by this unique MOI experience.