An Idaho Falls history and science museum will nearly double in size and plans to remain open year-round after an expansion project is completed in 2019.
The Museum of Idaho held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday for the $4 million project that will add 26,000 square feet (2,400 square meters) of space devoted for traveling exhibitions, the Post Register reported.
The existing space, about 30,000 square feet (2,800 square meters), will then primarily be used for local exhibits, said Jeff Carr, the museum's public relations director. The museum was last expanded in 2003.
"We're going to have almost triple the amount of space for Idaho and regional history exhibits," Carr said. "We're the Museum of Idaho, and we're growing and maturing as an institution. We want to do better justice to our own history here in Idaho."
Because the museum's space is currently limited, its collection of about 20,000 regional historical artifacts are mostly stored elsewhere, which Carr said has caused security and preservation issues. The new expansion will allow the museum to display and curate a larger selection of local, regional and statewide exhibits.
The expansion was funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant and a capital campaign the museum pursued for more than a year.
Interior improvements to the existing museum will take place during the winter, and the expansion construction will begin in spring, Carr said.