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Museum Of North Idaho Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, History Museums

Mission: The Museum of North Idaho collects, preserves, and interprets the history of the Coeur d'Alene region to foster appreciation of the area's heritage.

Target demographics: Collect, preserve and interpret the history of the Coeur d'Alene region

Programs: Publish books and quarterly newsletter related to the history of the Coeur d'Alene region.
Providing historical programs, tours, and admission to the museum's exhibits. Audience 6,100.
Reproducing and providing historical photographs

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Centrally locates with a variety of items in the gift store. Enjoyable exhibits at a very reasonable entry fee. The walking tours are exceptional!

Kandi J.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Board member, I enjoy having the opportunity to support keeping history alive in my hometown.

My family came to this community over 70 years ago and it is very important to me to keep history alive for current and future generations.

Jocelyn B.


Rating: 5

Recently I found out that the reason MNI closes between Nov and Mar is because there is no heat in the exhibit hall. Thankfully, a capital campaign has began and will provide the Coeur d'Alene Region with a state-of-the-art museum.

The Museum of North Idaho (MNI) has been keeping history alive for 51 years. Their mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of the Coeur d’Alene Region to foster appreciation of the area’s heritage. MNI inspires a dynamic connection to our Region’s unique heritage through exhibiting and sharing history with our community and visitors. MNI offers a public space where community members can gather and interact with our area’s history. Every 2nd Friday, MNI is open to the public as part of ArtWalk. MNI provides resources to research and create a broader understanding of the rich cultural heritage of our past. After 40 years in the same building, they are ready to expand. The Museum experience will continue to inspire learning and partner with area schools, but through a larger, more interactive, and technologically advanced space.

As our community grows, MNI is preparing to grow with it. Preserving our small town heritage is imperative so that Coeur d’Alene’s community identity is not lost as a result of the growing population.


Rating: 4

One mission of The Museum of North Idaho (MNI) is to serve as a repository of historical material of Kootenai County and two adjacent counties, for researchers and others to benefit from. In actuality its service area is not limited to just those counties as people from far and wide utilize its resources. A particular interest of mine is railroads in general, and in particular the railroads that served Coeur d’Alene and northern Idaho. The museum has worked with and provided historical details to authors writing railroad books published by the museum, covering the Spokane Coeur d’Alene & Palouse Ry., the CMStP&P RR, the Spokane International RR, and the Washington Idaho & Montana RR, among others. Their railroad books sell nationwide with some having multiple printings. Other reviews on this site have noted their extensive collection of photos and other material that provide valuable resource material for patrons. I agree.

Artifacts not displayed at the museum are stored in a separate building. A recent large MNI project was buying a storage building versus renting as had been done for years, and doing some prep work on it. Volunteers then spent many hours moving the shelving and artifacts from the former to the new storage building. Some local businesses contributed labor and machines needed to move items too large or heavy to move by manual labor. Local business support is another facet of the community support from members, volunteers, and other sources MNI cultivates. MNI operates with fiscal responsibility in all they do, but as is common to such organizations, they are always in need of additional members, volunteer labor, and financial support.

I am a member of the MNI and do volunteer work as well. Other reviews on this site have noted the importance of MNI to the community and the outreach efforts they are doing to increase awareness of MNI and its benefit to the community. I agree. In addition to those activities, they are working to raise funds for a new museum facility having outgrown the present one. MNI is an important asset to their local community, equally as important as arts and cultural activities; all of which contribute to the quality of life in a community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Museum of North Idaho is very important to Coeur d'Alene and the rest of North Idaho. It is a repository of our history with extensive artifacts and photographs. There is a very interesting exhibit hall that is full of interesting artifacts and their descriptions. In addition, there is a 4000 square foot storage building containing many artifacts that can not be displayed in the Museum. The exhibit hall has the mood of going into our past. There are over 35,000 cataloged photographs. They can be reviewed and purchased by the public. Many businesses order enlarged photographs to decorate their facilities. In addition, one of the staff gives walking tours of Coeur d'Alene, and also gives monthly talks on our history at the public library. The Museum of North Idaho is blessed with an expert curator and archivist. In addition, there is a very popular historian working at the Museum. Not only is the MNI important to Coeur d'Alene, it is a lot of fun, located in the heart of town on the edge of our City Park. It is well worth being named as a Great Nonprofit.

John W.5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My first contact with what became the Museum of North Idaho was in the mid-1970s when I started doing research for my book on railroads ("Railroads Through the Coeur d'Alenes"), so I was using its services even before the current building was acquired. I have continued to work with the staff there ever since. Dorothy Dahlgren, the director, and the wonderful volunteers have been of never-ending help to me. If it weren't for the director, my long-suffering work (over 35 years) on a book about Lake Coeur d'Alene steamboats would have "died" long ago. She has kept me going. If you have any questions about the area, the staff will do all in their power to help you. If they don't have the answer, they will try to find someone else who can. I have been a member of the Museum for many years, and my family has trusted the Museum as a worthwhile place to donate money, photos and artifacts. If I still lived in Coeur d'Alene (I live in Oregon), I would be a volunteer with much of my free time. I've added a photo of my father, Dr. Bill Wood, donating the steering wheel of the steamer "Flyer" which has been on display at the Museum for years - Carl Krueger on the left accepting for the Museum.

Jon W.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Museum of North Idaho is an invaluable resource in tracing the history of our lands. The museum too often serves as the last hope for collecting and keeping safe the records that document the myriad vectors of our history. The museum stands guard protecting historical artifacts and facts with respect to the cultures of our indigenous peoples, early white settlers, and various early and more recent notable entrepreneurs, cultural icons, railroad barons, timber and mining magnates, and so many imperfect but certain giants from whom we humbly step forward. Through the museum’s personnel and it’s collections, a wider and more complete historical photograph is provided of our heritage.

As an intrepid environmental consultant, I am often called upon to research the history of parcels of real estate to determine whether there is or has been the possibility of a significant release of hazardous materials or petroleum products. Assisted by the museum, the past uses of properties are researched as far back as records allow. For every parcel assessed, real and metaphorical historical photographs of property uses are pieced together, depicting the strife and sometimes humor of day to day operation, and key milestones both tragic and triumphant. Although these photographs are never 100 percent complete, the museum is often my only hope to improve resolution, in the effort to resolve or characterize environmental concerns, to promote effective and safe redevelopment, to increase the efficiency of our local lands, and improve local employment and tax revenue. Truly – the Museum of North Idaho is an invaluable resource.