A large crowd was on hand as ground was formally broken Thursday for an expansion of the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls.
The project will be about 26,000 square feet, nearly doubling the size of the current facility. Construction will begin in spring 2018. The new wing will house a larger and more versatile education center, a larger traveling exhibit space, and a new collections workspace.
Officials said that would free up the current exhibit area for new and improved permanent exhibits. Interior construction will begin this winter to enhance flow between the three elements of the museum.
The building itself was constructed as a Carnegie Library in 1916. The second addition was added in 2003. The new wing is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.
“This expansion is an expression of community support for the Museum of Idaho’s mission,” said Museum of Idaho Board Chair Linda Montgomery. “The money for this expansion is from the community, grants, and local sponsors, and I am so thankful for the amazing level of support. This expansion will allow the Museum to remain open even during the change-out of traveling exhibits, which will allow us to more effectively bring the world to Idaho and Idaho to the world.”
Among those on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony were Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper, Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham, and philanthropists Greg Carr and Bill Maeck.
The Museum is encouraging members of the public to support the creation of new exhibits through the purchase of legacy bricks on the new front patio. Patrons may have their names or personalized messages engraved on the bricks for tax-deductible donations of either $100 or $500.