Idaho gets ready to celebrate 150 years with big donation

Idaho gets ready to celebrate 150 years with big donation

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by Natalie Podgorski

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 6, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 6 at 4:16 PM

BOISE -- Gov. Butch Otter is asking Idahoans to get territorial.

In less than a year, Idaho will celebrate its 150th anniversary as a territory.  Today, the governor signed a proclamation that puts the Idaho State Historical Society in charge of the sesquicentennial celebrations.

The historical society wants people to understand how much of our everyday lives are shaped by Idaho's years as a territory.  For example, Boise became the capital when Idaho was still a territory, the state's boundaries were formed, our basic highway system was even developed.

The historical society wants every corner of this state to look back when Idaho was named a territory and see how it shaped their communities.  That is the society's main goal. But they want people to go a step further and figure out ways to celebrate the territorial years.

Former Lt. Gov. David Leroy and his wife Nancy have already done that. The couple is donating their collection of Abraham Lincoln artifacts to the state. President Lincoln was the one who declared Idaho a territory on March 4, 1863.

"It's our hope that this gallery, this exhibit, these items will inspire people to study history to learn history and to make good history in the future for Idaho," said Leroy.

The Leroy's collection is the largest collection of Lincoln artifacts in the western United States. Some of the items include a lock of Lincoln's hair that was taken during his autopsy, a floorboard from his home and countless pictures and documents.

All the artifacts will become part of a permanent exhibit at the state archives. It will open in the fall of 2013.

The historical society and the Leroy's hope their donation will inspire others to celebrate the 150th anniversary.

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