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Best Museums in Boise

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Boise Art Museum

For 70 years the Boise Art Museum has provided an imaginative excursion for all the senses. Wander through the airy sculpture garden or admire one of the pieces from the museum's 15 galleries. The museum regularly features local artists, such as self-taught James Castle who was recognized nationally for his original drawings. A wide range of activities are offered for children and adults including tours and annual events including the popular Art in the Park.

Boise, ID, United States
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Basque Museum & Cultural Center

The oldest brick building in Boise, the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga House is also part of the Basque Museum. Built in 1864, this building served as a Basque boarding house from 1910-1970 when the Basques immigrated from the northern Iberian Peninsula, now part of Spain. The second largest community of Basque people in the world resides in the Boise area, and this museum, now mostly housed in an additional building, is the only one of its kind in the nation. Exhibits include artifacts from various cultural traditions and events.

Boise, ID, United States
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Idaho Military History Museum

Located at Gowen Field, where airmen trained during World War II, this museum celebrates Idaho's military history through photographs and artifacts. A late-1800s lieutenant, sporting an enormous mustache, stares gloomily from the wall. World War II memorabilia has a prominent place among the displays, and you can stroll past a 1941 Willy's Jeep. The displays are brought up-to-date with F-4 and F-16 cockpit simulators. Visitors can make their own dog tag at the gift shop or visit the research library.

Boise, ID, United States
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Old Idaho State Penitentiary

The "Old Pen" is a stirring glimpse into prison life in the West from the 19th Century onward. Built in 1870, the castle-like fortress underwent renovation over the years, often using prison labor. Over 13,000 prisoners served time in the Old Penitentiary over a period of 101 years. Complete with solitary confinement cells and gallows, this eerie, yet intriguing penitentiary was also where the notorious Lady Bluebeard was imprisoned. The mighty prison is upheld by the Idaho State Historical Society, its complex a home to several notable sites like the Territorial Prison, the Dining Hall and a tracery of cell houses. What was once a formidable force, is now a stimulating museum open for in-depth perusal, and harbors myriad exhibits that date as far back as the Bronze Age.

Boise, ID, United States
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