Stanley Museum

STANLEY MUSEUM

Open Daily June 10 through Labor Day from 10am-5pm

Other dates of operation: Memorial Day Weekend  –  June 4-5  –  Weekends in September

Located at 2 Museum Drive on Highway 75 north between Stanley and Lower Stanley. Stop by or give us a call at 208-774-3517.

Located in historic Valley Creek Ranger Station, the Museum displays photographs and artifacts depicting the early days in the Sawtooth Valley, and offers a glimpse of pioneer life in this not-so-gentle landscape.

Numerous events take place at the Stanley Museum each summer including the Sawtooth Forum & Lecture Series, History Day and the Sawtooth Salmon Festival.

The Ranger Station complex was built in 1933 by U.S. Forest Service Ranger Merle Markle and his wife. It served as a working ranger station until 1972, when Congress established the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. At that time, the current ranger station, located a few miles upriver of Stanley, was built to replace it.

In 1982, the Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical Association was granted a special use permit by the Forest Service to operate it as a museum. The Museum is a work in progress, and we welcome artifact donations that are specific to human history, early settlement, commerce, and lifestyles in this rugged area.

In addition to the original house/office, over the last 15 years SIHA has created additional exhibits in some of the outbuildings on the complex.

Ice House (Cold Cellar)

In 2008, we began the restoration of the ice house. With the help of the Forest Service, donations from members and friends, and grants from the Sawtooth Society and Idaho Heritage Trust, and the expertise of Sawtooth Valley Builders, exterior restoration was completed in 2011. The exhibit inside recreates what the space might have been like when it was an ice house.

Tool Shed

In 2018, we began working on an exhibit for the tool shed, attached to the south side of the ice house. With the help of the Sawtooth Society and Evelyn Phillips of Quigley Design, new interpretive panels were developed to highlight the history of the USDA Forest Service in the area. The exhibit is dedicated to Marilyn Marquis who was a long-time SIHA board member. She had a passion for the history and preservation of historic buildings in the Sawtooth Valley and Stanley Basin. The exhibit opened to the public in 2021 and we are excited to share our newest project with the public.

We need your help!  We are raising funds to accomplish more upgrades and enhancements at the Stanley Museum.

In 2019 SIHA was able to stabilize the oldest structure onsite (the original garage now storage and office space) with a new foundation and the replacement of several logs. But we aren’t finished! SIHA is working to raise funds to build a historic replica ‘Clerks Cabin’ staff house onsite.

Become a part of history by having your name, the name of a loved one or inspiring words inscribed on a commemorative brick to be installed in walkways at the Stanley Museum.  Details on this project and an online order form to purchase a 4″ x 8″ or 8″ x 8″ brick can be found at Polar Engraving.  If you have any questions, please send an email to: info @ discoversawtooth.org.

Visit our Oral Histories page for more information!

As the keeper and teller of stories of the Sawtooth Salmon River Country, SIHA maintains a library of oral histories and continues to acquire more. These interviews teach us about the colorful and influential individuals who shaped our community. There are vivid characters who tell about the old Ace of Diamonds Dance Hall, the first sheriff in Stanley, and life with the U.S. Forest Service when the Sawtooth National Recreation Area was first established.

If you have knowledge of the Sawtooth-Salmon River Country in the early days or know of someone who does, please contact us.

We have interviews with or about the following people (this list is not comprehensive):

  • Shirley Linford Athy – (audio and written transcript)
  • Jim Bennetts – interviewed by SIHA, 2008
  • Iris Boyd – interviewed by SIHA, 2006
  • Sandy Brooks – interviewed by Forest Service staff, 1974
  • Howard Brown – interviewed by SIHA, 2008
  • Tom and Aileen Chivers – interviewed by SIHA, 2008 (video and written transcript) interviewed by the Community Library Association, Ketchum ID, 1983; on ranching in the Stanley Basin
  • Stella Critchfield – interviewed by Forest Service staff, 1974
  • Bob Cole – interviewed by SIHA, 2008
  • Dean Cronmiller – audio interview by SIHA 2009
  • Alta Ellis – interviewed by Forest Service staff, 1974
  • Virginia Finkelnburg – interviewed by SIHA, 2008; on life in the Sawtooths as a wife and mother
  • Mattie Hansen – interviewed by Sawtooth Mountain Mamas, 1990
  • Mel Jensen audio interview SIHA 2009 early Redfish Lake Lodge owner
  • Swan and Mary Jering – interviewed by Sawtooth Mountain Historical Program, 2002
  • Tom Kovalicky – SIHA, Sawtooth Forum and Lecture Series presentation, 2008
    – Interviewed by SIHA, 2008; on his time in Stanley as a Forest Service Ranger
  • Don Lanier – interviewed by SIHA, 2009 (video)
  • Lanier family members – interviewed by SIHA, 2009
  • Gordon Larson – interviewed by SIHA, 2008
  • Jack Lavin – interviewed by SIHA, 2009
  • Joe Leonard – interviewed by SIHA, 2008; on his time in Stanley as a mountaineer and backcountry guide
  • Edna McGown – interviewed by Forest Service staff, 1974
    – interviewed by Sawtooth Mountain Mamas, 1998
    – (written transcript only) interviewed by Community Library Association, Ketchum, ID, 1983; on family history and life in the Sawtooths
    – reception at Stanley Museum, 1993
  • Kelly and Elberta McKean – interviewed by Sawtooth Mountain Centennial Project, 1995
  • Sadie Merritt – interviewed by Forest Service Staff, 1974
  • Merritt Family – interviewed by Sawtooth Mountain Mamas, 1974
  • Jack Seagraves – interviewed by Forest Service staff, 1974
  • Shaw family members – interviewed by Sawtooth Mountain Mamas, 1995
  • Judy Smith – interviewed by SIHA, 2009
  • Bill Sullivan – interviewed by Sawtooth Mountain Mamas, 1974 and 1988
  • Marie Sullivan (Williams) – interviewed by Sawtooth Mountain Mamas, 1988
  • Dick Waite – interviewed by SIHA, 2008
  • Margurite Wells, Illene Wells-Burr and Iris Burr – interviewed by SIHA, 2006
  • Carrie Williams – interviewed by Forest Service staff, 1974
  • Morgan and Tiny Williams – interviewed by Forest Service staff, 1974
    – interviewed by Sawtooth Mountain Mamas, 1988
  • Ted Williams – interviewed by Forest Service staff, 1974
  • Dan Wooley – interviewed by Forest Service staff, 1974

Local history topics from the Alpine Examiner