The 9 Best Museums in Idaho!

Idaho’s natural resources and magnificent scenic beauty are just some of the state’s defining characteristics. Key word: some. The Gem State has a deeply-rooted history that is on display in its various museums, scattered across the state. Did you know they have an entire museum dedicated to cleaning, or an eerie museum housed inside a former prison? Where else can you find something so unusual and unique? If you’re looking to explore an interesting side of art, history, and culture that you’ve never seen before, step inside these 9 fantastic Idaho museums.

Appaloosa Museum, Moscow, ID

Appaloosa horses are thought to be the North American contribution to the genetic line of domesticated horses, and the local Nez Perce tribe historically bred these native animals. In the 1800s when white settlers were first introduced to the breed, they called them, ‘Palouse horses’ after the great Palouse River that fed the fertile grounds of the Palouse Valley. The name evolved from ‘a Palouse horse’ to Appaloosa. Spotted and bred with the spirit of the Old West, die-hard Appaloosa fans will not want to miss this historical little respite. Plan to spend a day learning about the native Nez Perce people, their beautiful craft work, and of course, the distinctly spotted horse that personifies the spirit of freedom and the legacy of the untamed frontier.

Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1 (EBR-I) Atomic Museum, Butte County, ID

If you have ever had a burning desire to visit a nuclear reactor, well, here is your chance. And for those inquisitive little Tesla-ites at home, they can learn about the history of nuclear science, splitting atoms and of course, everything nuclear. Tucked far out in the rugged expanse between Idaho Falls and Arco, the Atomic Museum is not one to be missed. Pack up your nuclear family and plan on a day of historical significance, military presence, and perhaps, glean some insight into our global—and nuclear—future.

Celebration Park, Melba, ID

Idaho is a great state for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. So what could showcase Idaho’s historical heritage better than a public outdoor archaeological venue. Once the hunting grounds of an ancient and now extinct Native American tribe, Celebration Park showcases these early native people’s artifacts by safeguarding and protecting their uniquely beautiful petroglyphs. The area is open to the public and offers guided tours during the regular season.

Museum of Clean, Pocatello, ID

After a long, dusty day tramping around the sage and bitterbrush of Celebration Park, a trip to the Museum of Clean might be in order. Do you like things clean and tidy? When you were little, instead of a doll or bicycle did you beg your parents for you very own miniaturized vacuum? Maybe your house is in a constant state of disarray, but you’ve always dreamed of living in an organized, clean home, then this is the museum for you. Learn about the history of vacuums, the origins of cleaning supplies, and just plain “living clean.”

Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID

Art is often subjective, innovative, and sometimes provocative, but it’s always encouraged and endeared by the City of Boise to all of its Treasure Valley residents. Often the place of field trips and galleries, the Boise Art Museum (BAM) also offers art classes and hosts many community events. You must make a reservation in order to visit the museum but with the many exhibits and pieces on display, your planned tour will be worth the wait.

Idaho State Penitentiary, Boise, ID

Quarried out of local sandstone by the inmates themselves, this historical site is sure to impress, complete with its gothic architecture, looming watchtowers and barbed-wire, bringing your mischievous little ones here might make them rethink about ever trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Built in 1872, these stonewalls have housed some of the nation’s most notorious and dangerous criminals. Open daily, the museum also has a collection of military memorabilia as well.

Warhawk Air Museum, Nampa, ID

If you’ve got a military aviation history buff in the family, then a trip to the Warhawk Air Museum is a must-see. Learn about our nation’s role during World War II, the sacrifices, courage and faith that our soldiers faced, showcased through the extensive memorabilia on display. For those uber-aviation enthusiasts, there are opportunities to even fly in one of these historic military airplanes.

Ketchum/Sun Valley Historical Heritage Ski Museum, Ketchum, ID

People from around the world come to visit the legendary powdery snows of Central Idaho, coveting the vertical runs at Bald Mountain, so why not take in a little historical knowledge as well. The museum has a collection of early wooden skis used to traverse this rugged country, as well as mining artifacts, sheepherding, and some collections from a rather well known resident/writer that also called Sun Valley home.

Wallace District Mining Museum, Wallace, ID

Part of the cultural landscape in 1800s Idaho, was the immense amount of mining. Once gold and silver was discovered among the rocky ledges of Idaho’s remote mountains, the state would never be the same. The Wallace District Mining Museum offers a glimpse into that often harsh, dangerous and deadly world of mining. The riches, the deceit, and drama that often went hand-in-hand with the profession. Of course, for those brave-enough, you can also visit a museum of another profession that also seemed to coincide with the influx of miners: The Oasis Bordello Museum, conveniently located down the street in Wallace as well.

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180 1st Avenue East, Ketchum, ID
About Us:The Ketchum Sun Valley Historical Society is proud to operate two museums that exhibit our long tradition as a destination ski town, the p... Read More
218 North Main Street, Hailey, ID
The museum is located in Hailey in the Gem State of Idaho. It was established in August, 1962 to "Discover, procure and maintain whatever may relat... Read More
210 Main Street, Salmon, ID
The Lemhi County Museum is for the entire family to enjoy. Together, you will see artifacts with new eyes as a way to better understand the America... Read More
2700 Main Street, Salmon, ID
The Sacajawea Center is an Idaho Events Center and Interpretive, Cultural and Educational Center owned and operated by the City of Salmon, in partn... Read More
180 South 3rd East, Mountain Home, ID
The facility was constructed in 1908 by a grant from Andrew Carnegie for a library. The Mountain Home Museum building is architecturally significan... Read More
611 Grove Street, Boise, ID
About:The Mission of the Basque Museum & Cultural Center is to preserve, promote, and perpetuate Basque history and culture. Boise, Idaho has l... Read More
508 Julia Davis Drive, Boise, ID
The Idaho Black History Museum is housed in the former St. Paul Baptist Church Building. St. Paul is one of two African American churches that were... Read More
610 North Julia Davis Drive, Boise, ID
History: Located in downtown Boise's Julia Davis Park, the Idaho State Historical Museum is the official museum of Idaho's history.  As early... Read More
670 Julia Davis Drive, Boise, ID
Vision:The Boise Art Museum is nationally recognized for leadership, innovation and excellence in the visual arts.Mission:The mission of the Boise ... Read More
4692 West Harvard Street, Boise, ID
The Idaho Military History Museum has been established for the purpose of "preservation, display and interpretation of military history and artifac... Read More
120 Main Street, Hagerman, ID
Mission: The Hagerman Valley Historical Society and MUSEUM brings together people from all walks of life that are interested in the history of the... Read More
212 East First Street, Jerome, ID
About Us: The Jerome County Historical Society was established in 1981. There is a public "Research Room" located at 212 East First Street next to... Read More
201 Municipal Drive, Nampa, ID
Our Mission Statement:The Warhawk Air Museum is a not for profit organization funded entirely by individual donations and private foundations. The ... Read More
1200 Front St, Nampa, ID
Our Mission : The purpose of this Society shall be to help investigate and preserve for future generations any kind of historical records, docume... Read More
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