An extraordinary system of cultural and historic resources.

Signature & Family Events

Attend an Event



Photo Credit: Art Seamans

The Idaho State Historical Society features a number of signature events throughout the year that appeal to a wide range of audiences.  Events are engaging, fun, educational and focus on a variety of topics and locations across Idaho.

Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month

Idaho Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month is a statewide educational outreach program offered annually in May.  Through partnerships with libraries, historical societies, museums, schools, government agencies, and private companies, thousands of Idahoans learn about Idaho‚Äôs cultural heritage through programs about archaeological and historical sites, historic architecture, preservation, and landscapes which have been discovered and recorded throughout Idaho.

Events are planned throughout the state during May. See the complete schedule here

Brown Bag Lecture Series

The Friends of the Historical Museum and Old Idaho Penitentiary sponsor a monthly  Brown Bag Series of programs September through August at the Idaho State Historical Museum and June through August at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. The series includes twelve sessions by celebrated experts on dynamic aspects of Idaho history, covering a wide range of topics of interest to a variety of age groups. The Brown Bag programs take place the second Tuesday of every month, from noon to 1:00 pm.  The Brown Bag Series is held at the Idaho Historical Museum (except for the 2013 season) and the Old Idaho Penitentiary except when those sites are unavailable and an alternate site is used. Attendees are welcome to bring lunch; coffee and punch are provided. Friends of the Museum members and ISHS members are admitted free.

National History Day in Idaho

ISHS administers this national, highly regarded academic program in Idaho and invites students to research and develop topics of local, state, national, or world significance that relates to the annual theme and is historically significant.  National History Day in Idaho (NHDI) helps students develop critical thinking and problem-solving, research and reading, and oral and written communication skills, as well as build a sense of responsibility for and involvement in the democratic process.  Regional contests are held throughout the state in February and March, the State contest is April, and the national finals at the University of Maryland are held each June.


Wine, Eats, and Artifacts

Held the third Thursday in August, these house party fundraisers are hosted by the Foundation for Idaho History and provide guests with the opportunity to get up close and personal with objects, archives and stories from ISHS collections in a relaxed cocktail party atmosphere.

Esto Perpetua Awards and Luncheon

A signature program of the State Historical Society since 1999, the Esto Perpetua award honors significant contributions to the preservation and promotion of Idaho history.  It takes its name from Idaho's state motto meaning "Let It Be Perpetual."  Each year organizations and individuals are recognized for professional accomplishment, public service, volunteerism, and philanthropy.  Award winners exemplify excellence in preservation through innovation and demonstrated commitment to the education, protection, and interpretation of Idaho's cultural or natural assets and the integration of these assets into community life.  The annual awards will be held in the summer.

Family Events

The Idaho State Historical Society features a number of signature events that appeal to families, including the annual Museum Comes to Life festival in September at the State Historical Museum and the Frightened Felons Halloween event at the Old Idaho Penitentiary.  Hands-on History activities provide participatory learning experiences for families on Saturdays throughout the summer.

Korean dancers

Museum Comes to Life

Museum Comes to Life, ISHS's annual history festival, is held the last Saturday of September at the Idaho State Historical Museum and surrounding Julia Davis Park. Visitors and families enjoy a day of hands on activities celebrating the artisans and technology of years ago with expert exhibitors and living history re-enactors from around the state. Don't miss this festival of entertainment, history, good food, and family fun.

Frightened Felons

Scare up the courage to be a part of our Frightened Felons Halloween event in October, presented at the Old Idaho Penitentiary.  Join us for over 140 years of history about escapes, executions, death and, of course, ghost stories!  Activities include storytelling and scavenger hunts with prizes.

Fnight tours at Old Penriday the 13th Old Penitentiary Evening Tours

Each month that holds a Friday the 13th, look to the Old Idaho Penitentiary to provide special evening tours that really take you behind the scenes and get in touch with history.

Featured Exhibition

One Last Look!
One Last Look!
Aug 3rd