The Idaho Museum of Natural History in communication with Idaho State University continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. The safety and well-being of our entire community, including visitors, is our top priority. The University is strictly following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and state and local public health officials. Due to these guidelines, all Museum public activities are canceled until further notice.
Join and Support
At the Idaho Museum of Natural History, our philosophy is all about discovery! Discovery through world-class, science-based programming that highlights the incredible life, earth, and anthropology collections we steward for the State of Idaho, its citizens, and our visitors.
Through our statewide initiative, Discovering Idaho, One Story at a Time, we are connecting K through 12 and beyond with extraordinary STEM education. Additionally, we are collaborating with Idaho State University’s Colleges and faculty on groundbreaking research projects, providing interactive, immersive exhibits for the enjoyment of all, and sharing the state’s over 700,000 collections through the Idaho Virtual Museum.
It is through the generous support of individuals, business and corporate partners, and foundations that we are able to meet our mission to “preserve the natural heritage of Idaho through our collections, to create and share knowledge to its people and visitors."
Karen Spiegel's IMNH Story!
The Idaho Museum of Natural History has long been an inspiration. My grandfather, Grumps, when I was younger, wasn’t the warmest most humorous person, but there was a point in time when he cut off one of his fingers in a hay machinery accident and he made humor out of it. When he was a docent at the Museum, he would lead the tours of the kids’ field trips. He would tell the kids that he was the oldest of dinosaurs and that he got too close to a dinosaur and it bit it (his finger) off. So, that was his warning to the school kids, not to get too close to the exhibits or touch anything, so they wouldn’t lose a finger.
I’ve always enjoyed the museum. My first experiences, I couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old, there were weekly classes that I could go to and learn about different things. I remember two of them; one about birds at the Birds’ exhibit, where we learned about humming birds. We took a field trip to a lady’s house that had a whole bunch of humming birds. We learned that their wings flap so many times a minute. To see humming birds in real life at such a young age was really fascinating.
I learned a lot about local wildlife. With the reptiles, we got to see and touch and feel and learn about turtles and how the spine is fused to the shell. Things that you might learn about later on in zoology classes or something like that, but at such a young age, I got a hands on experience with those things. And I don’t know if that’s why or if it’s just because I do, but I’ve always loved turtles, I’ve always loved humming birds, things I was exposed to at the Museum.
On one field trip, similar to the ones that my grandpa would have been a docent to, I learned about the local Native American’s and their history, how they ate, and how they travelled and saw the artifact collections. For me, it’s always been not just that’s it’s an artifact, but that belonged to a person, and that is somebody’s story. This was the reality years ago and I try to relate history to anything that I can in modern days.
I continue to visit the museum with my kids a couple times a year. We try to catch the exhibit changes that are unique to Idaho with the Hagerman horse. My kids are totally interested in history. They get really excited about the giant sloths and the buzzsaw sharks and they go home and draw them. It’s lifelong learning and it’s exciting to see my kids excited about things that most people don’t even know about. Please join me in carrying on a long tradition by supporting the Idaho Museum of Natural History.
Ever thought of including the IMNH in your estate plans? For 85 years and counting, the Idaho Museum of Natural History has made it our goal to collect and preserve Idaho’s rich natural history, while sharing Idaho's stories with many generations. Financial gifts, large and small, have been essential in shaping our history. Your support will play an exceptional role in our promising future. For more information and a confidential conversation on how you can make a Legacy gift to IMNH, call (208) 282-3168.
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Thank you for your continuous support.
Business and Corporate Partners
Financial contributions from our business and corporate partners is significantly growing Museum attendance at exhibit features like The Incredible Horse, Living with Fire, and Treehouses. K-12 education is providing a broad range of class tours, after-school, and weekend workshops focusing on sciences and technology. We’ve added over 5,000 new specimens to our Museum collections and through citizen science programs we’ve added over 19,000 observations of plant distributions involving more than 1,000 contributors. Our physical collections were visited by 18 researchers. And, the IMNH continues its leadership in making museums accessible to anyone, anywhere, through digital online collections and our signature Idaho Virtual Museum.
Financial contributions from Foundations to the Idaho Museum of Natural History impact our ongoing mission to preserve the natural heritage of Idaho through our collections, to create and share knowledge to its people and visitors, and support our efforts for program expansion and sustainability.