With speeches, drum songs, the singing of “Here We have Idaho,” and the official ribbon-cutting, the Idaho State Museum is now open to the public. The museum had been closed since the summer of 2014 for a four-year, $16 million renovation.
The museum is expected to host 115,000 visitors in its first year after its reopening.
“History saved and preserved is the foundation for future generations,” said Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa, one of the dedication speakers. “Today, here we have Idaho.”
All five of Idaho’s tribes were collaborators in writing and telling their history in the new exhibits. “When you talk about history, these things need to be taught so they don’t happen again,” said Nathan Small, chairman of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe.
Much of the history of the tribes is painful and hard to hear. “But this tells a little bit of who we are,” Small said.
Said Gary Aitken Jr., chairman of the Kootenai Tribe: “I was touched to tears, looking at our history and the things that are on display.”
Janet Gallimore, executive director of the Idaho State Historical Society, combined the past and present. “We are making history today,” she said. And after the ribbon was cut, she turned to the crowd. “Come on in!”
See 10 top items in the new museum here.