Living History 

Museum Comes to Life makes history interactive

Somehow, history doesn’t seem quite to distant, or quite so dusty, when two armor-clad combatants are sword fighting right in front of you. Nor can it be called boring when cowboys are playing poker in the saloon, musicians are wandering about and buckskin-clad explorers are sharing tales of adventure.

But breathing life into history the whole idea behind Museum Comes To Life, which will bring more than 40 exhibitors and another 20 individual performers and vendors to the Idaho State Historical Museum and its grounds on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

In its 36th year, the event is one of the Idaho State Historical Society’s largest gatherings. Last year, a record number of people turned out to see the interactive and sometimes hands-on exhibits. According to Anne Schorzman, event coordinator, between 5,000 and 6,000 people attended—a number organizers hope to beat this year.

“There’s a really good, positive energy,” Schorzman said of the atmosphere at the event.

Beyond history lovers, Museum Comes to Life draws families—thanks to the hands-on activities designed for kids, including pioneer games—as well as the simply curious. The fact that admission is free can’t hurt either.

Returning this year is the Society for Creative Anachronism, whose members will demonstrate various aspects of medieval life, including sword fighting, dancing and music, while wearing period costumes. They will be joined by costumed fur trappers and Civil War soldiers, as well as cowboys playing poker in the museum’s saloon.

As visitors check out the selection of vintage sewing machines, cars, historic printing press and steam engine, they can watch rug-hooking and silver-making demonstrations, while actors portraying Benjamin Franklin, Davey Crockett and Abraham Lincoln wander through the crowd.

Activities will happen both on the grounds around the museum in Julia Davis Park, as well as inside the museum itself, including the pioneer village, which will be open for the public to explore it buildings. This includes the red adobe Logan House, which now houses an exhibit on the history of the City of Boise.

But history isn’t all terrestrial, a fact that will be proven by the NASA Exploration Science Trailer. For the first time, the 60-foot trailer will join the historic revelry. Parked near the Rose Garden, the trailer celebrates the 40th anniversary of the moon landing with simulated moon visits and interactive displays of space exploration vehicles.

Idaho’s most famous space traveler, astronaut Barbara Morgan, will get a jump on the celebration when she signs autographs at the trailer on Thursday, Sept. 24, from 3:30-5 p.m. The NASA trailer will be open to the public daily from the autograph signing through the Museum Comes to Life event.

If you can’t get enough historical reenactments, Emmett will host its own event, A River Through Time, on Saturday, Oct. 4-Sunday, Oct. 5, at the Gem Island Sports Complex from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

The free event will host mountain men, an emigrant camp, gold miners, blacksmiths and a Civil War encampment. For more information on this event, call 208-365-9530 or 208-365-4340.

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