Tucked away in the heart of Eastern Idaho, the Idaho Falls Museum offers a fascinating window into the rich history of one of the state’s most vibrant cities.

Founded in 1955, this museum has been at the forefront of preserving the history of Idaho Falls for over six decades.

The museum is housed in a historic building that was originally built as a hotel in the 1920s. Over the years, the building has undergone extensive restoration and renovation, transforming it into a modern, interactive space that engages and educates visitors of all ages.

From the first step inside, visitors are transported back in time, as the museum’s exhibits bring the city’s history to life.

Classic Vinatge cars featured in the exhibit

Classic Vintage cars featured in the City of Power exhibit Photo credit: Chester Chan

One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is the City of Power exhibit, which explores the city’s connection to the hydroelectric power industry.

Idaho Falls has long been known as a center of innovation and industry, and this exhibit showcases the city’s pivotal role in the development of hydroelectric power. Through interactive displays, visitors can learn about the history of hydroelectric power in Idaho Falls and see how it has impacted the city and its residents over the years.

Ever wondered why Idaho’s nickname is the “Gem State?”

Idaho is known for its rich variety of minerals and gems that can be found within its borders. These resources helped establish Idaho’s reputation as a state rich in valuable resources, leading to its nickname “Gem State.”

Why is Idaho called the "Gem State"? Because of all the Gems of course!

The Idaho Falls Museum has created an exhibit that showcases the state’s rich mineral heritage and celebrates the beauty of the gems and minerals found within its borders.

The Gem State exhibit is a comprehensive display of the variety of minerals, gems and precious stones that are found in Idaho. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the geological processes that created the gems and minerals and see stunning examples of each type on display.

The exhibit is divided into sections, each focusing on a different mineral or gemstone, such as diamonds, garnets, jasper, opal and tourmaline, among others.

Milestone rock from the 18th century

Milestone rock from the 18th century Photo credit: Chester Chan

Another highlight of the museum is the Native American exhibit, which showcases the rich history and culture of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. For thousands of years, these tribes have lived in the region and have left a lasting impact on the area’s culture and history.

The exhibit features a collection of artifacts, including baskets, pottery and jewelry that were made by tribal members, giving visitors a unique glimpse into the lives of these fascinating people.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Idaho Falls Museum also features rotating exhibits that showcase a wide range of topics and themes related to the history of Idaho Falls and the surrounding area. These exhibits have covered subjects such as local art and artists, the city’s growth and development and the history of local businesses and industries.

Alex Holt, museum accessibility facilitator

Alex Holt, museum accessibility facilitator Photo credit: Chester Chan

“We are making the museum more approachable for different and diverse guests, whether they have disabilities or different learning styles,” said Alex Holt, the accessibility facilitator at the museum.

The Idaho Falls Museum has made significant efforts to make its exhibits more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities and children. The museum has implemented several accessibility features, such as wide doorways, ramps and braille signage, to make it easier for those with mobility issues to move around the exhibits.

Audio descriptions and touch-based exhibits have been added to cater to those with visual impairments. The museum also provides assistive listening devices and large print materials for visitors with hearing disabilities.

Furthermore, the museum has created interactive displays and hands-on activities specifically designed for children, making the exhibits more engaging and educational for young visitors. These efforts have helped the museum become more welcoming and accessible to a wider range of people, ensuring that everyone can enjoy and learn from its exhibits.

“Almost everything here says ‘Do not touch’ or you know, has the partition around it, my job is to add content knowledge in a way that kids or our diverse guests can touch, feel, play with and learn more about our exhibits,” Holt said.

Prehistoric animals native to East Idaho

Prehistoric animals native to East Idaho Photo credit: Chester Chan

The museum also hosts special events, including lectures, workshops and tours, that are designed to further deepen visitors’ understanding of the city’s rich history.

“February 25, we’ll have dinosaurs of the deep coming in and it’ll be all about underwater animals and their fossils,” Holt said. “And then in the fall, we’ll actually have animals of the canopy, and we’ll have a live sloth at the museum.”

Beyond its exhibits, the Idaho Falls Museum is also committed to educating and engaging visitors through its educational programs and events. These programs cover a wide range of topics and are designed to encourage learning and engagement.

History of Idaho map

History of Idaho map Photo credit: Chester Chan

With its interactive exhibits, educational programs and special events, the Idaho Falls Museum offers a unique and engaging experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

For museum tickets check their website.

College students can receive a $2 reduction in price by displaying their school ID. Additionally, Idaho residents can also enjoy a $2 discount by presenting their state ID or driver’s license.