2455 Old Penitentiary Road

Boise, ID 83712 (Next to the Old Pen)

Current Hours

Spring re-opening March 8th. We will be open 12-5 on Fridays and Saturdays. See idahomuseum.org/events for what might be coming up.

Free Admission!

Tours and other programs available.

Chinese Mining in Idaho

Click on the image below to download stories of some of
Idaho's Chinese miners, told in English.

Click on the image below to download stories of some of
Idaho's Chinese Miners, told in Chinese

The Historical Archaeology of Boise Basin Mining Communities
by Renae Campbell, University of Idaho

In the late nineteenth century, mining booms in Southern Idaho’s Boise Basin drew migrants from across the globe to what would briefly become the largest population center in the Pacific Northwest. In communities like Idaho City, Placerville, and Old Boston, nearly half of this population had been born in China. Today the Boise Basin is best known for its outdoor recreation activities, historic graveyards, and not-quite ghost towns, but it also contains a rich archaeological record of Chinese mining sites. This presentation summarizes research being conducted by the Boise National Forest and the University of Idaho to uncover the stories connected to these archaeological sites, the Chinese pioneers who once inhabited them, and the mining networks operating in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Boise Basin. 

LECTURER: Renae Campbell Historical Archaeology Doctoral Candidate, Departments of History and Anthropology Research Associate, Asian American Comparative Collection, University of Idaho, Moscow 


IMMG Exhibit makes News

Janice Tsai has published two articles about the history of Chinese miners in Idaho, and the museum’s new Chinese Mining Exhibit. They were written for  the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle.

Both articles are in Chinese. If you require translations, cut/paste utilizing Google’s translation service. It works surprisingly well!

Link to article on Chinese in Idaho’s history

Link to article on IMMG’s new Chinese Mining Exhibit

Visit the Exhibit with Our On-Line Collection

Click here to see exhibit artifacts that have been published from our Collections database.

Historical Timelines of Gold Production and Chinese Population in Idaho