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Idaho Black History Museum Receives State’s Highest Honor for Museums, Historical Societies, and Interpretive Organizations

Boise, ID— Idaho Black History Museum, Boise, Idaho, receives the Sister Alfreda Elsensohn Award for its outstanding work. Given annually by the Idaho Humanities Council and Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS), the Sister Alfreda recognition includes a $10,000 award to be used by the awarded museum, historical society, or interpretive organization to continue its educational efforts.  

The award is named for Sister Alfreda Elsensohn, who founded the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude in the 1930s. Sister Alfreda, one of Idaho’s outstanding historians, sought to collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts from Idaho County and the surrounding area to better educate the public. “A museum is a bridge which links the present with the past,” she said. It is her vision of Idaho museums as exciting, interactive, and educational institutions that the award seeks to recognize by honoring one outstanding Idaho museum each year.

“The Idaho State Historical Society engages communities by building upon shared experiences to inspire further action in preserving and sharing Idaho’s history,” noted ISHS Executive Director Janet Gallimore. “To help meet that goal, the Idaho State Historical Society and Idaho Humanities Council recognizes organizations throughout the state that are thoughtfully and conscientiously working on sharing their history. The Idaho Black History Museum is well deserving of this award. The Museum is being recognized for their truly exceptional work in building bridges between cultures and exploring issues that affect Americans of all cultures and ethnicity.”

“The Idaho Humanities Council encourages public awareness and understanding of history and other humanities disciplines,” noted David Pettyjohn, Executive Director of the Idaho Humanities Council. “The Idaho Black History Museum is being acknowledge for their exceptional exhibits and educational and community outreach programs including lectures, films, workshops, literacy programs, and musical performances. We are honored to acknowledge the Idaho Black History Museum with the Sister Alfreda award.”

The Idaho Black History Museum is located at 508 Julia Davis Drive, Boise, Idaho.

While the Humanities Council and Idaho State Historical Society collaborate on many projects, this is their only joint award. Prior awards include the Bonner County Historical Museum in Sandpoint (2008), the South Bannock County Historical Center in Lava Hot Springs (2009), the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude’s (2010), the Lemhi County Historical Society (2011), the Basque Museum and Cultural Center (2012), Wallace District Mining Museum (2013), the Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association (2014), Owyhee County Historical Society Museum (2017), Lost River Museum (2018) and White Spring Ranch Museum/Archive Library (2019).  


The Idaho State Historical Society is an extraordinary system of cultural and historic resources comprised of the Idaho State Museum, State Archives, State Historic Preservation Office, and Old Idaho Penitentiary and Historic Sites Program. Our vision is to make history essential and accessible through dynamic and gratifying services that inspire, enrich, and engage all Idahoans. Learn more at www.history.idaho.gov

The Idaho Humanities Council (IHC) is a non-profit organization serving as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The IHC is dedicated to serving Idaho citizens by promoting greater public awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the humanities. The Council accomplishes its mission by awarding grants to organizations statewide, and by working with organizations as partners to develop local humanities projects and programs, and by sponsoring its own Council-conducted programs.  More information can be found at www.idahohumanities.org