A project 14 months in the making is ready to be unveiled. The Museum of Idaho is ready to open its new expansion along with the new traveling exhibit to the public this week.
Visitors can enjoy a new two-story atrium for traveling, a larger Maeck Family Foundation Education Center, a bigger museum store, a new lobby and main entrance and much more. The renovated and expanded museum adds 20,000 square feet to the building.
Construction began in July 2018. The Museum of Idaho was able to raise $4.9 million from donors and granting organizations. The museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and receives no state funding.
The newly expanded Museum of Idaho hopes to bring a greater quantity and quality of permanent exhibits, traveling exhibits, programs and learning experiences to eastern Idaho.
The first traveling exhibit opening in the new space is “Darwin & Dinosaurs.” It showcases early 19th-century scientific discoveries, including the discovery of dinosaurs. It is inspired by Charles Darwin and his quest to find answers about the Earth and its ecosystems. The exhibit also includes 13 dinosaurs and dozens of original artifacts from Darwin’s life work.
Because of the expanded building, the museum will still host its current traveling exhibit, “Archimedes: Science and Innovations,” and its longtime exhibit that is full of Idaho artifacts, on Saturday and Sunday.
On Monday, the museum will close off that area for renovations in preparations for its new exhibit, “The Way Out West.” It will detail the social, cultural and environmental history of Eastern Idaho.
There will be a ribbon-cutting held for invited guests Thursday. There will be speeches given by the Museum of Idaho’s executive director, Karen Baker, and Bateman-Hall Construction, which was the construction manager and general contractor for the expansion.
The grand opening of the Maeck Education Center for invited guests will be held Friday morning. There will be remarks from special guests, including Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper and Idaho Falls School District 91 Superintendent George Boland.
Friday night will be the VIP grand opening ceremony for the expansion. It will include remarks from Governor Brad Little and a performance by the Idaho Falls Youth Symphony.
The expansion and exhibit open to the general public at 10 a.m. Saturday.