BOISE -- The Idaho State History Museum is filled with old and unique artifacts, but it's getting old too.
The current building was opened in 1950, and the museum collection has outgrown this small art deco structure. Museum Director Jody Ochoa says the exhibits are in need of modernization.
This is our story of Idaho exhibit, Ochoa told KTVB while standing under the gold lettering that welcomes visitors to the museum's lower gallery. It's almost 25 years old. You can tell by looking around there are very few artifacts in it. It's very sparse looking.
While this part of the museum devotes plenty of resources to native Americans and early Idaho pioneers, Ochoa says the planned renovation will include more space devoted to the 20th century. It's also going to have a more statewide focus.
Idaho Historical Society Director Janet Gallimore says the facility hopes to include 12,000-square-feet of new exhibit space. The addition will include a museum education room, a gallery specifically for traveling exhibits, a multimedia room with an 1870s saloon, and more space for artifacts and people.
Gallimore says visitors should expect two years of closure while museum staff reconstructs exhibits based on what other leading museums are doing. They'll need another year of installation time after that. The facility is slated to reopen in the spring of 2017.
In the meantime, museum staff will move out of Julia Davis Park, relocating to a new location near Warm Springs Avenue and Broadway.
The Idaho legislature is being asked to fund the $7 million expansion. Private donors are being tapped to provide up to three million dollar more for the exhibits. That's a $10 million total price tag.
The legislature is expected to decide on the funding in late February.
The plan is to close the museum June 1, 2014 and begin the process of renovating the museum.