Do you have any pictures of the old Boise Penitentiary? They are needed for this Idaho State Historical Society project.


According to a press release from the Idaho State Historical Society.

Items of interest include images taken at the penitentiary and other sites including prison farms, quarries or personal photos of those who have contributed to the history of the site since its inception and construction. The images of people who lived, worked and served their sentences there are also interesting, according to the press release.

The Idaho State Historical Society is embarking on a multi-year plan to “reimagine” historical interpretation and visitor experience at the Old Idaho Penitentiary, according to the release, and research staff are working to discover new resources to tell the full story of corrections in Idaho. Only a few photos that tell the site’s original story are available of the old penitentiary despite its 101 years of operation, the press release said.

The Idaho State Archives, a division of the Idaho State Historical Society, is the official repository of photographs of those incarcerated at the prison and a collection of photos taken behind the walls of the prison. Staff at the former Idaho Penitentiary hope other historic photographs exist in private collections of those whose lives have crossed prison.

Historic photography contributions have enhanced programs and exhibits at the Old Idaho Penitentiary since it became a historic site in 1974, according to the release. In 2019, a visitor researching genealogy shared photos of his great-grandfather, Nathaniel Gardner, who served a year for grand larceny in the 1920s for stealing a saddle. A photo taken outside the prison walls captured the joy and hope he felt as he left prison for the last time.

“Preserving and sharing photographs like Nathaniel’s provides a glimpse into the past and captures emotions that prison files and mugshots cannot,” Acting Historic Sites Administrator Anthony Parry said in a statement. the press release.

Those interested in sharing or donating photos should make an appointment between noon and 5 p.m. for October 21 or October 22. Make an appointment by e-mail [email protected] or by calling 208-334-2844.

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