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Originally established in 1985, the Basque Museum & Cultural Center was the first museum dedicated to preserving the Basque legacy in the United States. Since its foundation, the museum has aimed to preserve and educate the local community on Basque culture and their history in the American West and more specifically their impact in Boise. With a variety of engaging exhibits and an expansive collection, this museum reflects the cultural and historical significance of the Basque community in Boise.

  • Exterior of the Basque Museum & Cultural Center
  • Interior entrance of the museum

In 1985, Adelia Simplot, the daughter of a Basque immigrant, established the Basque Museum & Cultural Center in the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga boarding house just two years after purchasing the historic building from the Uberuaga family. Amidst renovations in downtown Boise, Adelia wanted to preserve the boarding house and use it for public education on the history of the Basque community in Boise. With the help of local Basque volunteers, the museum was the first in the United States to be dedicated to the Basque. Shortly after the museum opened, Adelia purchased the 611 Grove St. property to help expand the museum in 1988. Although the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga boarding house remains a part of the museum, the 611 Grove St. building now acts as the central museum exhibit, giftshop, and headquarters. 

Just as it did in 1985, the Basque community in Boise continues to support and help grow the museum through donations to the museum's collection. Among the vast collection at the Basque Museum are photographs, oral histories, and other archival materials donated from local Basque families and organizations. The collection also includes many historical artifacts recovered from the excavation and restoration of the Jacobs-Uberuaga house in 2012. In addition to the many exhibits the museum has to offer, they also host classes teaching the Basque language, Euskara. The space is also used as a social center for the Basque community and following Adelia’s vision, remains an educational institution dedicated to preserving Basque history and culture. 

Mackey, Meggan Laxalt. Lekuak: The Basque Places of Boise, Idaho. Reno, Nevada. Center for Basque Studies Press, 2018.

Basque Museum & Cultural Center History, Basque Museum & Cultural Center. Accessed June 18th 2020.

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Basque Museum & Cultural Center

Basque Museum & Cultural Center