And Here We Have Idaho: Curating the Gem State

    The Idaho Humanities Council’s 2018 weeklong summer institute, titled And Here We Have Idaho:  Curating the Gem State, will be held July 15-20, on the campus of Boise State University. This institute is supported in part by a grant from The Whittenberger Foundation and through IHC's Endowment for Humanities Education. Forty teachers from around the state were selected to participate.

     Idahos Place CoverTeachers will receive institute texts, including Idaho’s Place:  A New History of the Gem State, an anthology of the most current and original writing on Idaho’s History edited by Adam Sowards, and an electronic compilation of other pertinent primary and secondary readings.  In addition to attending daily lectures and discussions, teachers will be among the first to visit the newly renovated Idaho State Museum, attend special evening presentations, view films, and share ways of teaching Idaho’s history in the classroom.

“Understanding Idaho’s place and putting it in context requires a guidebook,” historian Adam Sowards says in his introduction to Idaho’s Place.  Recognizing Idaho’s unique position in national history and appreciating the role Idaho played in shaping larger narratives entails learning the diverse stories that make up our state. Tribal histories, political conflicts, environmental issues, and personal accounts make up this place so many of us call home. There is no one history of Idaho, but learning how the different histories have overlapped and created our larger story is key to understanding Idaho’s place. 

This interdisciplinary institute will help teachers across the state learn the different histories, interpretations, and stories of Idaho. Using Adam Sowards’ book as the guidebook and the newly renovated and opened Idaho State Museum as the starting point, teachers will explore how different individuals and groups shaped the state, and how Idaho both reflects larger national history as well as veers away from it in different ways to create its own distinctive story. 

Teachers will work with prominent Idaho scholars to delve into the political, social, geographic, and cultural history of Idaho. They will have the opportunity to learn from museum staff about the design of the new museum, and the research that went into creating the displays, getting an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look at the museum. The new museum will provide teachers with the opportunity to learn how the new interpretive exhibits can be used to enhance curriculum development in a diversity of subjects.  Idaho history is complex, and this institute will help teachers discover new methods to approach the diversity of the history, new stories to teach to their students, and new ways to understand not only the state’s history, but the larger history of the nation.

Scholar presenters so far include Keith Petersen, retired Idaho State Historian, Amy Canfield, Associate Professor of History at Lewis-Clark State College and IHC Executive Committee member, Katherine Aiken, Emeritus Professor of History at University of Idaho, Jill Gill, Chair of the History Department at Boise State University, Heidi Wiesner, Education Specialist, Idaho State Museum, and others.  The keynote - "For the Permanent Good":  Idaho and the Greening of the Nation - will be open to the public on Sunday, July 15, presented by Sara Dant, Professor and Chair of History at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.  

For more information, visit, call the IHC office, 208-345-5346, or contact Cindy Wang at