“The valleys and mountains of Lemhi County have witnessed virtually all aspects of the mythic “Old West.” This is the homeland of the Lemhi Shoshone; it is the location of one of the first religious missions in what became the state of Idaho; we not only had a series of gold rushes in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s, we had silver copper, tungsten, and cobalt rushes; we had a Chinese business and residential section in the county seat and Chinese who worked throughout the county in the development of the region. We had cattle barons and a sheep queen; we had a well-developed timber industry; we had wild rivers full of fish; and we had a railroad. We were a community of small settlements that came together in the thriving metropolis of Salmon City.

And, of course, we suffered depredations against peoples, different cultures, and the environment – scars that we encounter daily and from which we need to learn. The past is not something to be discarded and forgotten. Nor is it simply a curiosity that we dust off once in a while. As our economy changes and as our culture becomes acclimated to a different economic base; as it becomes less feasible to raise cattle and sheep on smaller land-holdings; as the timber and mining industries shrink in this part of the West, we must learn to develop more sustainable approaches to working with our natural resources and ways to preserve open spaces in a rapidly growing population. History is the element in our lives that can teach us about place, that can give us a sense of that place, and that can help us create a better, more cohesive community.

As more people move into new regions throughout the country, it is the knowledge of the history of those places that will enable a more effective, creative, and successful community – melding both the past and the future.”
Hope Benedict : Museum President