As long as Governor Little gives the greenlight for Idaho to move into Stage 4 of the Idaho Rebounds plan on Saturday, the Idaho State Museum will re-open to the general public this Saturday. When you go, make sure you stop by to check out this unique exhibit!

When the Idaho State Museum reopened in 2018, we got to take the grand tour and try out all of their hands on exhibits that bring some really unique parts of Idaho’s history to life. To this day, there’s one exhibit that still stands out in my mind from that visit. If the internet had been around in the 1940s, video of this strange moment in history would've gone viral. Without a 24-hour news cycle at the time, many people forgot it even happened.

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Before the 1940s, McCall and the rest of the area around Payette Lake was relatively uninhabited.  As more Idahoans started to fall in love with the gorgeous scenery the way most of us have the area really started to take off.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, those who were trying to call McCall home after World War II ran into a huge problem when they started to build their homes.  That problem was furry and at times, kind of cute.  The area has overrun with beavers, who have a history of being pretty destructive to anything that humans built. Idaho Fish and Game had a dilemma on their hands. How do they eliminate the problem in McCall without killing off animals that had made a comeback from near extinction in the fur trade era?

Enter the hero the beavers needed.  Elmo Heter, who worked with Fish and Game at the time, saw an opportunity to use a stock pile of parachutes that were going to waste after World War II.  His plan was to catch as many beavers as the agency could and load them into boxes that had been tested to open when they impacted the ground. Those boxes would then be connected to a parachute and thrown out of a plane over the Frank Church River of No Return region.

Now before you call it animal abuse, the plan was actually successful.  Of the 76 beavers who were re-homed using the parachute method, only one passed away.

The Idaho State Museum’s interactive displays gives you a deeper look at the story of "Geronimo," the original test beaver and how he responded to being dropped out of an airplane over and over again.

Plan Your Visit

When the Idaho State Museum re-opens they will have a maximum capacity of 60 visitors. Guests are asked to limit their exploration to a maximum of two hours to allow other guests to have the opportunity to enjoy the exhibits. They'll allow up to 30 guest per hour to enter hourly and ask that you register for your tickets ahead of time HERE.

Admission prices for adults are $10, while seniors, students and veterans receive their tickets for $8.  Children are just $5. They will offer half-price admission to front-line workers who supported the community during the COVID-19 pandemic June 20-21. Those are available for those in service, healthcare and first responders.