The prospect of gold drew thousands of Chinese immigrants to Idaho Territory. In 1870 Idaho’s Chinese population exceeded that in California. The Idaho State Historical Museum, founded in 1907, is Idaho’s largest and most visited museum, evolving from a simple collection of curios and relics sitting on shelves to the first museum in Idaho to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. The museum tells the story of Idaho from pre-contact times through the fur trade, the gold rush, and pioneer settlement to the present. Richly detailed interiors show how Idahoans in the late 19th and 20th centuries lived and conducted business. Exhibitions about the state’s Native American, Chinese American and Basque populations are also presented.
Highlights: Exhibitions at the Idaho State Historical Museum concentrate on Idaho and regional history. A small display features information on and artifacts from an historic “Joss House” in Idaho.