Way Out West

The big story of a unique region

Way Out West, the museum’s flagship exhibit, immerses visitors in both the human story and the environmental story of our region, Idaho, and the West, from its first inhabitants through today.

GUIDED TOURS are offered on Saturdays at 11:30 am and begin in Carr Atrium by the mammoth. Duration: 45 minutes. Tours are included with admission, and no reservation is required. 



The exhibit features seven themed galleries, each with significant artifacts and fun interactive elements for all ages.

Idaho Origins

Join the first inhabitants of ancient Idaho as they followed big game, seasonal plants, and water. Compare fossils and try your hand at bringing down a 14-foot-tall Columbian mammoth using an augmented-reality atlatl.

Out of the Rocks

Trace the path of the seething Yellowstone Hotspot as it shaped the Snake River Plain and America’s first national park, and see for yourself why Idaho is called the “Gem State.”

Into Nature

Get up-close and personal with formidable beasts against the backdrop of some of the country’s most pristine untouched wilderness, and learn how humans work to manage the land and its resources now.

Regional Roots

Saunter along the stocked storefronts of a late-19th century town and meet the intrepid pioneers who transformed it from Wild West to cultured community.

People and Place

From the Shoshone and Bannock to trappers, miners, and homesteaders, learn what brought people to Idaho, see how they survived, and interact with the objects they carried on their way.

A Complex State

Come face to face with stories of progressive inclusion and oppressive exclusion, and the complicated path of a strangely shaped state both difficult to traverse and difficult to govern.

Idaho Impact

Confront the ideas that have defined Idaho’s image and the innovations that have challenged it, create chain reactions on a massive “ball wall,” and gaze out into the future.


MOI spent years researching, planning, writing, collecting, and consulting with subject-matter experts and Idahoans from all walks of life in order to tell the world’s biggest and most complete story of our region. That story, Way Out West, opened in 2021.

Enhance your experience

Get the most out of your visit with the one-page Way Out West field guide, go in-depth in the classroom with the educator guide, and search additional resources. Or check out an Adventure Backpack at the ticket counter!

Exhibit partners

MOI would like to thank the following organizations for their generous contributions to this exhibit:

  • CHC Foundation
  • Cross Charitable Foundation
  • Extreme Blue Thunder air show
  • Idaho Humanities Council
  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • Idaho State Historical Society
  • Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation
  • MDU Resources Foundation
  • MJ Murdock Charitable Trust
  • Union Pacific Foundation
  • US Bank
  • Westmark Credit Union