The Idaho City Historical Foundation currently operates three museums covering important parts of the Basin’s history
The Boise Basin Museum tells the history and development of the Basin through an extensive collection of early photographs, artifacts and tools. It is also home to Kenn Smith’s remarkable historic bottle collection. The Brogan and Naylor Parks located behind the Museum contain the new Mining History Trail completed in the fall of 2022. Housed in the old Pinney Post Office, the museum marks the beginning of the Idaho City Historical Foundation’s work.
The Pon Yam Museum and Resource Center contains artifacts and photos dealing with the Chinese experience in the Boise Basin. Pon Yam was a highly respected member of the community. His business not only provided the Basin’s Chinese with much needed supplies from their homeland but also served as a valued social center. The Foundation purchased and restored the building in the 1990s. The museum and resource center are dedicated to the contributions of Chinese immigrants to the social, cultural and economic development of Idaho.
The Kenn Smith Wildfire Museum’s mission is to interpret the history of wildfire in the Boise Basin. Phase One was completed in August of 2022. Housed in the historic Strauss House and surrounded by the beautiful Kenn Smith Gardens, the museum incorporates photos and artifacts to explore fire detection, suppression, dispatch, administration and prevention. The Smokejumper Room contains extensive records of who jumped where and when along with the tools and protection they needed to survive.
All three museums are open seasonally. The Boise Basin Museum is open 11 am to 4 pm seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. And open weekends only in May and September.
The Pon Yam Museum and Resource Center and Kenn Smith Wildfire Museum are open on special occasions only but the Foundation is working on developing a docent program with the goal of opening these museums on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day