Idaho Military Museum Re-Opens After Renovation

Jun 6, 2014

The Idaho Military Museum is back open for business after being closed since October 2013.  

The museum started at Gowen Field in the late 1980s and eventually moved off base into a nearby warehouse. 

The museum houses a little bit of everything, not just items from the Idaho National Guard. “We really honor all those who served, from all the branches of service,” Executive Director Ken Swanson says. “We have material from the Civil War, that’s probably our earliest material, right up to current things, where people are coming back from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq and donating things to us.”

Swanson says collecting and caring for artifacts is only part of what they do. “The artifacts are here to get people’s interest so that we can draw them into the story and tell about the people who used these things,” says Swanson. “History is about people, not just about the objects, we use the objects just to draw people in, get them interested in the history.”

The $800,000 renovation includes a new exterior and interior, insulation, LED lighting, and air conditioning. 

The museum boasts three military planes, along with tanks and other vehicles. In the past, the museum got between 5,000 and 6,000 visitors a year. Swanson hopes the renovation will help bring in more.   

On Saturday the museum hosts its grand re-opening.  Events planned include reenactments and people in uniform from the Civil War through World War II. Collectors will also bring in rare materials. And there will be blank fire demonstrations from muskets to automatic weapons and cannons.

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio