State Museum looking for donated artifacts highlighting women in Idaho’s history

Posted at 1:45 PM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 15:44:59-04

BOISE, Idaho — Curators at the Idaho State Museum in Boise are asking Idahoans to consider donating artifacts they may have representing women from the past and present who have made “groundbreaking and lasting contributions to Idaho industry, culture, arts, and politics.”

The initiative to add artifacts of this nature to the Idaho State Historical Society’s permanent collection kicks off as the Idaho State Museum prepares to launch a new, temporary exhibit featuring trailblazing Idaho women. The exhibit is scheduled open late next summer, one-hundred years after women won the right to vote.

Beyond examining the women’s suffrage movement in the state, curators hope to showcase women who have had an impact on Idaho and its citizens. Specifically, curators are seeking items tied to important events in the state’s history -- key legislative moments, or movements from the past or present that have reshaped public policy, culture, and attitudes. They are also interested in items that relate to the everyday lives of trailblazing Idaho women.

In particular, curators are seeking artifacts related to the following women:

• Idaho Purce, a Pocatello woman and impactful human rights, civil rights, and HIV/AIDS activist
• Bonnie McCarroll, an early 20th-century cowgirl who changed the face of rodeo
• Irene Wilcox, a professor and pioneer in the field of social welfare
• Abigail Scott Dunaway and May Arkwright Hutton, influential suffragists
• Di Bowler, a celebrated ceramicist and water conservation activist
• Women who broke new ground working in mining or timber
• Women who broke new ground working at the Idaho National Laboratory
• Other women who broke new ground in politics, business, art, sports, activism, and other fields

The Idaho State Museum accepts collections donations on an ongoing basis -- but people who think they may have an artifact for the exhibit on trailblazing women should reach out to curators by the end of the year.

The curators emphasized that, in addition to potentially getting to see an object be part of the upcoming exhibit, donating an object to the Idaho State Historical Society’s collection ensures the care and preservation of that object into the future -- and the sharing of that object with a wide audience.

If you’re interested in donating an item, you can call Sarah Phillips at the Idaho State Historical Society at (208) 488-7490 or email her at