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Newly restored Bannock County Historical Museum is open to the public

The donor wall in the Bannock County Historical Museum. | Logan Ramsey,
POCATELLO — An eastern Idaho museum will continue to store historic artifacts thanks to the restoration of its building.
The Bannock County Historical Museum received repairs and underwent a remodel due to the aging quality of the building. Arlen Walker, president of the Bannock County Historical Society, is thankful that none of the artifacts received water damage from the previously leaky roof.
“(The contractor) really did a beautiful job on the restoration,” Walker said.
Before the restoration, water was leaking down the walls of the museum. In order to fix this, the roof had to be remodeled and repaired during the summer of 2022.

The new roof on the museum. | Logan Ramsey,
Originally, the roof was made out of metal sheets and had a large skylight over the museum’s gallery. Because of that skylight and the angle of the roof, rain and snow wasn’t draining off properly, and ice was splitting the metal apart in the panel joints.
“I don’t think any corners were deliberately cut, but there were some poor decisions made, like skylights,” Walker said of the building’s original construction.
As more leaks formed, water dripped down the walls in sections of the museum. Luckily, none of the artifacts were damaged before the renovation began.
In the remodel, the historical society had the skylights removed and replaced with indirect lighting.

The new indirect lighting in the museum. | Logan Ramsey,
Despite the work being done, none of the artifacts had to be moved out of the museum during the process.
“It would have taken semis and a crew of hundreds to move and protect all of these artifacts,” Walker said.
Rather then go through that process, the artifacts were protected by being covered in plastic. The sections that hadn’t received water damage were completely sectioned off, and the artifacts directly in harm’s way were moved to another part of the museum.
Once the main priority of fixing the leaky roof was completed, the historical society was able to move on to address the water damage. This was done as two separate projects. The most recent renovation worked started in December 2023 and was completed in April.
While most of the work done in these months was cosmetic repairs, the historical society had a wall in the gallery completely removed. Walker said that at some point they plan to remove another section of wall in the gallery to make the building more visitor friendly.

Where the wall in the gallery was removed. | Logan Ramsey,
“When you walk past the restrooms down towards the stage coach, it won’t be like you’re in it for the long haul. It’ll be more open,” Walker said.
He said that this will allow the historical society more opportunity to change what artifacts are on display, giving the museum a more “vibrant” feeling.
“It (won’t be) like you go one time, and you can go five years later and it’s exactly the same — which was sort of the situation we were stranded in,” Walker said.
Since the museum restoration was complete, the number of people visiting has increased, Walker said. They’ve seen more tourists coming to visit, as well as school groups from farther away like in Burley and Idaho Falls.
Walker hopes that more people will come to visit the museum and learn more about the 200-year history it covers.
“People have a really good chance to learn about the history of the county,” Walker said.
The post Newly restored Bannock County Historical Museum is open to the public appeared first on East Idaho News.

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