The museum began life as the St. Paul Baptist Church in 1921. Its original location was on the north end of Broadway Avenue (near Dona Larsen Park) on a piece of property donated to the congregation.
The church's first pastor, William Riley Hardy, was a skilled carpenter. He and his father-in-law Louis Stokes, the church trustee, built the white clapboard structure themselves. According to museum literature, it is one of the oldest buildings in Idaho built by African Americans.
World War II and the opening of Mountain Home Air Force Base brought more black families to Idaho. The St. Paul congregation grew. When it moved to a larger church in the 1990s, it donated the old church to a preservation committee formed to save the building for use as a museum. Crews moved the church to its current site in Julia Davis Park.
Founded in 1995, the museum hosts exhibitions, events and community outreach projects.
One cool note: Artist Faith Ringold immortalized the building after a 2008 visit to Boise. Check out her charming representation of the church, captured on a sunny Sunday morning, during your next visit to the museum.
508 Julia Davis Drive.
Anna Webb: 377-6431