Owyhee County Museum keeping county's history alive

Posted at 2:48 PM, May 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-02 23:46:18-04

MURPHY, Idaho — Founded in 1863, Owyhee County is the second-largest county in the state and is home to only around 11,500 people, but the terrain has enough history to last a lifetime.

This history needs to be preserved, as some artifacts date back hundreds of years.

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“So, the Owyhee County Museum has been here for 60 years and we have been collecting and preserving Owyhee County's history. Everything from mining to ranching, farming, all of that is preserved here on about a one-acre lot. It's important to preserve this stuff because you can experience what life was like 100 years ago,” Museum Director Eriks Garsvo said.

Some of the artifacts date back to the 1900’s such as the old Murphy schoolhouse which is currently being preserved.

Murphy School House

“We’re needing volunteers and money to continue to work,” Garsvo said. “This will become a display room when finished. It talks about the school in Murphy and then you'll be able to enter the original one-room schoolhouse. This is where the fundraising comes in to keep these kinds of projects going.”

There are a handful of projects the Owyhee County Museum is looking to work on, like preserving old clothes, equipment and restoring the original Marsing train depot.

Marsing Train Depot

“The building needs a complete restoration from a new roof, windows, wood doors, electrical and a full repaint. So, when this is fully restored it'll be back to the 1922 yellow and brown paint scheme,” Garsvo said.

Full of mementos from Silver City, Melba, Murphy and more, the Owyhee County Museum takes you back to what life was like for generations of Idahoans.

“You can come to the museum and you can ride in a 1915 Model T. You can start a 1940 John Deere tractor, so it's a living breathing museum, it's not a bunch of display cases,” Garsvo said. “This is a place where you can step back in time and learn and hopefully be able to take what you learn here and go forward with that in the future.”

To donate to the Owyhee County Museum for Idaho Gives, click here. The money will go into restoring and preserving artifacts from Owyhee County history.

For upcoming events, like Outpost Days, click here.