Idaho's history is on the move

BOISE -- Exciting changes are coming for the Idaho Historical Museum. The museum is about to undergo a major, two-year renovation. But first the museum must move, which is no easy task.

"We want to make sure that no artifacts get harmed while they are being moved and transported out to our storage facility," said Sarah Phillips, Idaho Historical Museum Curator.

Museum staff and volunteers began moving last week. They must meticulously pack up more than 2,000 artifacts of all shapes and sizes.

"So it does take a trained hand and a careful touch to make sure everything is protected while they're being packed up," said Phillips.

Each historically significant piece is photographed and documented for inventory so as not to get lost in the move. It is a slow and steady process that will take four months to complete.

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"We plan to use about 500 boxes and maybe 5 to 10 rolls of bubble wrap," said Phillips. "And we use specialized preservation materials like acid-free tissue. We'll probably go through maybe 10 to 20 rolls of that."

Pieces of Idaho history moved out and stored off-site to allow for major renovation and expansion of the museum that will include new space for more exhibits, artifacts, and classrooms for school groups.

"Right now one of the challenges that we have is, if we have a special exhibition, we can't have a lecture," said Janet Gallimore, Executive Director of Idaho State Historical Society. "So this way we'll be able to do all of the things that we like to provide for the public -- exhibitions, school programs, lectures, concurrently."

Construction on the more than 70-year-old museum building will take two years to complete. But when it opens, visitors will find a brand new, modern museum to house Idaho's oldest treasures.

The museum is scheduled to reopen spring of 2017. While it is closed for construction, museum staff will continue to provide educational programs at schools. The public can continue to visit the Old Idaho Pen, the Idaho State Archives and the Idaho State Capitol for ongoing programs.


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