The Carr Foundation has donated $905,000 to the Museum of Idaho (MOI) to help with the museum’s expansion and enhance the existing facility.
Late last year, MOI officials were informed construction costs for the expansion had risen, partially due to complications in excavating the planned basement storage facility. Museum officials then decided to shrink the expansion in order to remain within its original $3.9 million budget, but then in late January, while MOI was finalizing the revised design, the Carr Foundation become aware of the construction challenges and offered nearly $1 million to maximize the expansion.
According to the museum, the gift was unsolicited and unexpected.
The gift will allow the museum to regain most of the traveling exhibit space it had planned to cut. The new total of 9,000 square feet, plus 2,200 square feet of existing flexible space, will allow the museum to compete for larger traveling exhibits than in the past. The new basement will remain smaller than initially planned, but the money will aid MOI in obtaining more storage space offsite.
“This generous gift not only insures that we can continue to bring the world to Idaho through traveling exhibits,” said Karen Baker, the museum’s executive director. “It will allow us to better fulfill our mission to bring Idaho to the world. This gift enables us to continue to serve Eastern Idaho and be a community asset for generations to come.”
Despite the changes made during the design phase, Baker said the museum remains on track to begin construction in June and complete the expansion in mid 2019.