10 Best museums in boise

If history and culture is your jam, Boise has some great museums that cater to all interests of art and culture. From our modern art museums to our military and mining museums, we can satisfy any healthy appetite for learning and culture.

1. Boise Art Museum (BAM)

As Boise’s premier modern art museum, you will find regularly rotating exhibits by local, national and international artists. There are also seasonally sponsored “Art in the Park” exhibits that challenge the imagination, and create a fun activity for the whole family year round.

10 best boise art museums
Photo credit – Boise Art Museum

What makes Boise Art Museum special:

  • Rotating exhibits
  • Modern and traditional art
  • Classes and events
  • Art in the park


Boise Art Museum can be found at: 670 Julia Davis Dr Boise, ID 83702 (208) 345-8330

2. Idaho Military History Museum

Established to preserve the rich military history of Idaho. This museum exhibits a broad spectrum of military history to include artifacts and geographical information of our region during world war II and the Iraq war. Come enjoy this great educational experience.

10 best museums in Idaho
Photo credit Idaho Military History Museum

What makes Idaho Military History Museum special:

  • Local resource for military history in Idaho
  • Monthly events
  • School programs
  • Large inventory of historic items


Idaho Military History Museum can be found at: 4692 W Harvard St Boise, ID 83705 (208) 272-4841

3. Children’s Museum of Idaho

Plenty of interactive exhibits for kids to learn through play and exploration. With most of the museums in Idaho focusing on the state history, the children’s museum is focused on kids and helping them learn and experience new things. My kids love this place.

10 best museums in Idaho
Photo credit – Children’s Museum of Idaho

What makes Children’s Museum of Idaho special:

  • All about kids
  • Learning and experience focused
  • School field trips
  • Mobile programs


Children’s Museum of Idaho can be found at: 790 S Progress Ave Meridian, ID 83642 (208) 345-1920

4. Old Idaho Penitentiary

One of the more unique museums in Boise, the Penitentiary is a division of the Idaho State Historical Society. The prison was opened in 1872 and was closed in 1973.

Visiting this museum is a chilling and exciting experience, seeing the gallows and solitary confinement cells makes for a thought provoking visit. This is a great place to see some Idaho history.

Photo credit - Idaho State Museum
Photo credit – Old Idaho Penitentiary

What makes Old Idaho Penitentiary special:

  • First hand experience
  • Daily tours
  • Interactive programs
  • Great historic learning experience


Old Idaho Penitentiary can be found at: 2445 Old Penitentiary Rd Boise, ID 83712 (208) 334-2844

5. Idaho State Museum

A great place to learn and explore the history of our great state of Idaho. The museum examines Idaho’s unique relationship with the land and the people have shaped the way we live today.

You can enjoy exhibitions, educational programming and artifacts specific to life in Idaho today and from our past. Visiting this museum has given me a great perspective on Idaho.

10 best museums in Idaho
Photo credit – Idaho State Museum

What makes Idaho State Museum special:

  • Comprehenisve Idaho history
  • Educational tours
  • Special exhibits
  • Open Sunday


Idaho State Museum can be found at: 610 Julia Davis Dr Boise, ID 83702 (208) 334-2120

6. Idaho Black History Museum

This is a great experience to learn about how black Americans came to Idaho and represented a unique and significant place in our state’s history. This is a fantastic learning experience and is highly recommended.

Photo credit – Idaho Black History Museum

What makes the Idaho Black History Museum special:

  • Unique learning experience
  • University of Idaho research lab
  • School learning programs


Idaho Black History Museum can be found at: 508 E Julia Davis Dr Boise, ID 83702 (208) 789-2164

7. Warhawk Air Museum

This museum was originally created to preserve the history of WWI, WWII, Iraq & Persian Gulf war, along with the Vietnam, Korean and the Cold War.

The goal of the founders is the educate families and future generations with stories, artifacts and memorabilia. There are 13 planes and a ton of hardware on display in the museum.

Photo credit Warhawk Air Museum

What makes Warhawk Air Museum special:

  • 13 planes and war hardware on display
  • History from multiple war eras
  • School programs
  • Symposiums


Warhawk Air Museum can be found at: 201 Municipal Dr Nampa, ID 83687 (208) 365-6466

8. Wittenberger Planetarium

This place is technically in Caldwell but worth mentioning. A small planetarium at the College of Idaho and worth the 30 min drive from Boise.

24 foot dome projector that can show Northern and Southern constellations, deep space objects as well as our native solar system. This is a great outing for the whole family.

Photo credit – Whittenberger Planetarium

What makes Whittenberger Planetarium special:

  • 24 foot dome projector
  • Associated with the College of Idaho
  • Educational programs
  • 30 min drive from Boise


Whittenberger Planetarium can be found at: The college of Idaho Caldwell, ID 83605 (208) 459-5037

9. Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology

A simple mission to educate and create a better understanding around the importance of our history in Idaho mining and geological sciences.

The museum includes a historic recreation of a mining camp along with examples of lode and placer mining equipment, along with historical geological information, this is a great learning experience.

Photo credit – Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology

What makes the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology special:

  • Important part of Idaho history
  • Educational tours
  • Rocks!!


Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology can be found at: 2455 Old Penitentiary Rd Boise, ID 83712 (208) 368-9876

10. Basque Museum & Cultural Center

Boise has a rich history of Basque culture. In the mid 1800s, groups of Basques arrived from northern Spain seeking gold. After the rush, the Basques worked on ranches and farms where they specialized and played a critical role in the sheep business.

Basques were a big part of our early agrarian history here in Idaho, this museum is worth a visit and is an educational experience.

Photo credit – Basque Museum and Cultural Center

What makes the Basque Museum & Cultural Center special:

  • Unique part of Idaho history
  • Community center
  • Educational experience
  • Amazing Food & drink onsite


Basque Museum & Cultural Center can be found at: 611 W Grove St Boise ID, 83702 (208) 343-2671

Final Thoughts on Museums in Boise

Boise has a great variety of museums and learning opportunities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Its great to get out and learn more about this amazing city and state, I encourage you to visit them all.

While you are out and about, you may want to check out my listing for Boise’s indoor activities that can be helpful when that weird Boise weather shows up (wink).

Please feel free to send over your thoughts and feedback, I look forward to it.

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