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Potato Museum continues in grow in Blackfoot

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI) – In Blackfoot, it's not hard to miss the Idaho Potato Museum.

35 years ago, the Blackfoot community decided to convert a former train depot built in 1913 into a museum, paying tribute to their history in the process.

"The museum came together as an all volunteer effort back in 1988, when a group of potato industry leaders and local leaders decided that they wanted to make good on the fact that Blackfoot has been known as the 'Idaho Potato Capital of the World,'" said Executive Director Tish Dahmen.

When they opened in 1988, they didn't expect it to grow into what it is now. 

"They opened for one month and they just opened with ideas of exhibits," Dahmen said. "They didn't actually have any exhibits, but 2,000 people came through and they felt like it was a success. And then from that point forward, it just continued to grow in popularity."

When walking through the museum, it feels like an endless timeline.

The museum highlights historical figures such as Luther Burbank, the botanist who created the Idaho potato and L.D. Wilson Jr., the first shipper of potatoes in Bingham County.

The visuals in this museum are at every turn, from getting to see how farmers used to work back in the old days, and through virtual reality, getting to see how they work now. 

"You take someone who's traveling in from New York City, has never been on a tractor, has never been in a potato field," Dahmen said. "So these are really exciting opportunities."

Work is still be done at the museum, with a transformation ongoing when you walk through the door. 

"We're expanding our gift shop area, so that people have more opportunity to just come in and be with their group and they don't feel crowded or pushed," Dahmen said.

The museum is currently open from Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Article Topic Follows: Blackfoot
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Cole Sams

Cole is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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