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Museum of Idaho plans to expand

The Museum of Idaho is expanding. Design plans are in the process, and the goal is to be a museum that is open year-round.

Thanks to the Wendell and Margaret Petty family, the museum is beginning to drive in funds to expand ITS services. The Museum of Idaho has been open for almost a decade now, generating more than $52 million for the Idaho Falls community.

“But the problem is that the museum closes almost two months out of the year to bring in new exhibits, and that has unfortunately turned people away. How many people come through the door. See a billboard sign on the freeway, they saw an article somewhere. And we have to say sorry we’re closed. What museum closes for months every year?” said David Pennock, executive director of the Museum of Idaho.

So the museum is hoping to build a temporary exhibit hall, allowing traveling exhibits to come in and out as it pleases. The rest of the museum will be set up with Idaho exhibits, so that all can enjoy the history and culture of Idaho year round.

But for this expansion to occur, the Museum of Idaho needs to be sustainable. Ticket and gift shop sales only generate 43 percent of the museum’s revenue. This has caused the museum to set up a sustainable endowment, where private donors and the public can help generate $5 million in funds to accomodate further growth of the museum by earning interest each year on the endowment.

“We’ll on average received a quarter of a million dollars. Figuring interest and dividends at 5 percent, that would go a long way to ensure in our future on a budget year,” Nick Gailey, the museum’s director of development.

Currently, the Museum of Idaho has generated $2 million in its sustainable endowment, but it’s looking for your help to ensure that the museum will be here for years to come.

Final decisions on the design plans and the announcement of another big donor to the museum will be announced next month.

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