After living in Idaho for around eight years, it recently occured to me that I haven't visited one historical
site. Thanks to Totally Boise's friends at the Old Idaho Penitentiary and Idaho State Museum, I can now say
not only have I learned about Idaho, but I had so much fun doing it!
The best thing about the Old Idaho Penitentiary and Idaho State Museum is they continue to add new exhibits and
events, making visiting refreshing for everyone, even if you grew up in Idaho.
Old Idaho Penitentiary
A prison from 1872 to 1973, the Old Idaho Penitentiary has an abundance of chilling stories and history from past
inmates. Preserving the grounds, you can walk through the prison to see the conditions in which prisoners lived,
and what landed them in prison. Walking through a place with such a potent history makes you feel as though
you’ve traveled back in time.
The site features thirty historic buildings and special exhibits including the collection of historic arms and
military memorabilia — the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit. Visiting the Old Idaho Penitentiary gives
guests an opportunity to envision the Old Pen’s riveting past of crimes, escapes and executions.
Must visit Old Idaho Penitentiary Exhibits
- General Population Cells
- Death Row Block
- Unique Confiscated Items
Old Idaho Penitentiary Upcoming Summer Events
The Old Idaho Pen is known for putting together some of the best events year round. Creating an environment to
have fun while learning about Idaho’s history is what makes events at the Old Idaho Pen even more
fascinating. Here are a few you can join in on this summer!
- July 24th: Paranormal Investigation | Follow Big RIver Paranormal and attempt to connect
with prisoners and guards from the past using their unique equipment.
- August 13th: 32 Cells: Ethereal | Featuring brand new works from local Idaho artists
depicting the most haunting stories from the penitentiary.
- September 10th-11th: 13 Stories | Local Idaho filmmakers create short films based on true
stories from the Idaho State Penitentiary.
Behind the Walls Boise Podcast
If you want to learn more about the history of the Old Idaho Penitentiary, Behind the Walls season six
podcast is out now. Behind the Walls gives insider stories about Idaho history, true crime, and past
prisoners from the lens of two Old Idaho Penitentiary employees. During each episode, podcast hosts, Anthony and
Skye, will share the untold stories of two inmates, one female and one male. Tune in to learn about the
inmates’ lives, crimes and time behind bars.
Available on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts
Purchase Old Idaho Penitentiary
Idaho State Museum
One of the most beautiful characteristics of Idaho is the fact that you can see mountains from almost anywhere
you are in the state. This was a fact I did not know until I went to the Idaho State Museum. Spending the day
walking through the museum and learning fascinating facts about Idaho’s unique history and landscape made
me appreciate this beautiful state more than ever.
The Museum shows the incredible history of Idaho’s people and its land and the connection between the two.
The interactive exhibitions, artifacts, and educational programming allows for visitors and Idahoans to better
grasp how history has shaped the state we are living in today.
Totally Boise's Favorite Interactive Exhibits:
- The train in Boomtown
- Virtual Biking through Boise
- Personality Word String
- Which Trailblazer are you most like, flow chart
The Idaho State Museum was interactive and made for the best time with friends, but is a place I would love to
bring my nieces and nephews to! The museum is filled with over 514 artifacts on display, 800 photographs, and
rotating exhibit spaces, giving you something different to discover every visit.