Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Essential Idaho Explores Ruby Ridge, Blue Turf at Idaho State Historical Museum

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 10:37 AM

The Leata dominated the entrance to the Idaho State Historical Museum as part of Essential Idaho
  • Andrew Crisp
  • The "Leata" dominates the entrance to the Idaho State Historical Museum as part of the Essential Idaho exhibit.

Following Monday's midday birthday party on the Statehouse steps celebrating Idaho's sesquicentennial, the Essential Idaho exhibit opens today at the Idaho State Historical Museum in Julia Davis Park.

Idaho lawmakers, museum staff and Boise Weekly got a sneak peek Monday night of 150 items dispersed throughout the second floor of the museum.

Items rich with history include original weights and wax seals from Boise's Assay Office, and Olympian Kristin Armstrong's helmet used to win the gold in the 2012 London Olympics. Each of the 150-plus items on display includes a panel with plenty of reading material.

Just inside the front doors, visitors are greeted by what looks like an American version of the Volkswagen Beetle.

Don Steinbaugh's Leata delivered over 50 mpg for a price of $3,850, but his Post Falls-based Steinbaugh Manufacturing Company failed to make the car a winner, and closed its doors in 1976. A two-door Leata sedan, one of only 22 manufactured, sits parked in the main lobby as an introduction to the exhibit.

Basque alboka, berets and abarkak on display as part of Essential Idaho
  • Andrew Crisp
  • Basque alboka, berets and abarkak are an important part of Essential Idaho.

Upstairs, visitors posed with a giant sour cream-covered baked potato, wearing broccoli and cheese hats to act as garnish. A selection of Nell Shipman films played on a loop in one corner, near an exhibit for kids to build their own Idaho State Capitol out of blocks.

Nearby, the deadly Ruby Ridge incident came to life through a simple door. Removed from its place in the Weavers' north Idaho home, a hole through the door's curtained window still remains, through which Vicki Weaver was shot and killed by federal agents in 1992.

Essential Idaho opens at the museum this morning, and remains on display through Dec. 31. Hours and admission prices are available via the museum's website, history.idaho.gov.

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