aerial.view.600wAbout the Bonner County History Museum

Founded in 1972, the Bonner County History Museum has been collecting and preserving the Bonner County region’s significant stories for over 40 years.

The Museum is located in view of Lake Pend Oreille in beautiful Lakeview Park. The park has many amenities including picnic areas, a playground, tennis courts, and the Native Plant Society arboretum. Adjacent to Lakeview Park is Memorial Field which has a boat launch and is home to the Festival at Sandpoint every August.

The Bonner County History Museum is a private, non-profit educational organization (I.R.S. 501 (c) 3). The museum is a membership organization, open to all.  We operate thanks to community support, membership fees, gifts, retail sales and donations, and grants from private foundations. More About Us

History in Print

Two new books are now on sale in our gift shop along with many other items that highlight Bonner County.

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Ask for A GLORIOUS FIELD FOR SAWMILLS and DRIVING PAST at the Bonner County Museum gift shop, Vanderford’s Books, Common Knowledge Bookstore, the Corner Bookstore, and other retailers in and around Bonner County, or call (208) 263-2344 to order a copy.

Current Exhibits

TALES FROM THE WARDROBE: A Look at Fashion in Bonner County

ERA I: 1880-1919

Prior to the 1880s, the population of what would become Bonner County consisted mainly of Native Americans, explorers from “back East,” and prospectors passing through on their way to the storied gold fields of Montana and British Columbia. Practicality trumped fashion for these rugged individuals, who sported deerskin hides, leather, hardy fabrics like canvas and flannel, and (after 1873) the sturdy denim jeans produced by Mr. Levi Strauss of San Francisco–the one trend that came and never left!

The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1882 brought first a trickle, then a steady stream of people eager to log the forests, mill the timber, and work the land. Soon followed merchants, lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, teachers, law enforcement, barkeeps, and others to serve this budding population. And all of them needed clothes.

The 1880s and 1890s marked the waning of the Victorian era, as its cumbersome crinolines and corsets gave way to a gentler S-shape (helped by a bustle) in the Edwardian period. By 1910 new designs out of Paris revealed a columnar silhouette inspired by ancient Greece and Rome. But of course, what was fashionable in Paris took its time getting to North Idaho, and what worked well for an affluent city dweller didn’t necessarily suit a camp cook or logger’s wife. World War I brought other changes, and hard work called for looser garments in practical fabrics, yet special occasions have always called for special clothes. By decade’s end, bustles were a memory and skirts no longer brushed the floor.

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Look for Era II: 1920-1939 Coming September 18 2015, along with our new photo exhibit “Then and Now” co-sponsored by the Sandpoint Reader

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