Collections from Idaho National Parks

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, this exhibit showcases one object from every national park museum collection in Idaho. We invite you to explore museum collections from City of Rocks National Reserve, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Minidoka National Historic Site, and Nez Perce National Historical Park.

This multipurpose tool was recovered from the California National Historic Trail south of Pinnacle Pass in the 1960s and donated to the reserve in 2010 by the collector. This object shows the ingenuity of emigrants; a creative emigrant on the California Trail (1843-1882) altered an iron railroad spike and fashioned a multipurpose tool. The California Trail Period is the reserve's period of primary significance.

Circle of Rocks National Reserve, CIRO 2392

This tag was left in a tin can on a volcanic cinder cone by Robert W. Limbert, Idaho taxidermist and part-time explorer, when he journeyed into the monument’s rugged southern sector in June 1921. Mr. Limbert described his adventures in the March 1924 issue of National Geographic, drawing national attention to the fascinating volcanic formations here. That same year President Calvin Coolidge established Craters of the Moon National Monument. A National Geographic photographer and park staff discovered the items when they bedded down at Mr. Limbert’s old campsite 38 years after he departed. The items were featured in a photograph in the October 1960 issue of National Geographic magazine with a caption reading “Finder Please Write.”Hand written text reads: “Limbert & party camped here June 1921”. Text on back reads: “We camped here June 12 to 18 1921 Finder please write”.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, CRMO 1140

Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument (~4.2-3.2 million years ago (mya)) is an extremely diverse site with over 150 animal species. Some of them, like the giant ground sloth, were vastly different from anything around today, but familiar animals like swans and otters also graced Hagerman during the Pliocene (5.33-2.58 mya). Trigonictis cooki is the smaller of two grisons found at Hagerman. Grisons are members of the family Mustelidae (which includes otters, badgers, and weasels) and are found today throughout South and Central America. Pliocene Hagerman was warmer and wetter than today but as the climate changed and the glaciers of the Pleistocene advanced animals had to adapt, migrate, or go extinct. The Hagerman grison is just one example of an animal that once lived in the higher latitudes of North America but whose ancestors today are restricted to the southern latitudes. The ancestors of the South American peccary, llama, and Giant Brazilian otter also once lived at Hagerman. Adapt, migrate, or go extinct: how will we respond to global climate change?

Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, HAFO 19948

This hand painted Japanese style costume doll (isho-ningyo) from the 1940s is affixed to a wood and glass case. The doll is a geisha wearing a tabi and kimono and holding a tsuzumi (ancient drum). The facial features are hand painted on a cloth body, and the hair is made from dark thread.

Minidoka National Historic Site, MIIN 56

This bag exemplifies the beadwork styles of nimiipuu (Nez Perce) and Columbia River Plateau American Indian tribes during the 1900s. Nimiipuu, Palouse, Walla Walla, Cayuse, Umatilla, and Yakama peoples first beaded floral designs in the 1860s when mass-produced European goods bearing floral patterns and pressures of acculturation flowed into the region with European American settlers. Early 1900s Columbia River Plateau beadworkers refined these floral beadwork styles and applied them to popular shapes of the period. Heart-shaped bags and designs were particularly fashionable during the 1930s, a trend reflected in this bag. Nimiipuu beadwork continues today, a tradition sustained by Nimiipuu culture and teachings. This heart-shaped bag is also featured on the DVD cover for Nez Perce National Historical Park's Visitor Center movie, “Na:qc Tf mine Wisi·x: Of One Heart”.

Nez Perce National Historic Park, NEPE 4699

Credits: Story

Park museum staff from: City of Rocks National Reserve, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Minidoka National Historic Site, and Nez Perce National Historical Park.

National Park Service, Museum Management Program Staff Amber Dumler, Stephen Damm, Ron Wilson, and Joan Bacharach

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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