OROFINO — The Orofino Historical Museum will hold a grand opening of its new building and collection from noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The museum, at 433 Bartlett St. in Orofino, has been under construction for the past two years. It is on 1.25 acres behind Orofino Elementary School and has come about through volunteer labor and donations, said Mike Goodwin, chairman of the historical society.

Goodwin said the new museum has enough room for exhibits both inside and outside. The building’s worth is probably around $300,000, but the actual cost to the historical society is more like $100,000 because of all the donations.

The museum’s artifacts that have been collected over several decades include items relating to the history of mining in Clearwater County, which was the first place in Idaho where gold was discovered in 1860. The exhibit highlights the Chinese people who came to work in the mines, and even includes a pack saddle from the Lewis and Clark expedition, which passed through the county.

“We have a lot of old stuff from early logging days and the development of the towns of Orofino, Pierce and Weippe,” Goodwin said. “We have an old bunkhouse brought down from Headquarters” that has been rebuilt to replicate some of the living quarters for loggers in that area. Goodwin said the bunkhouse is fairly rustic.

The museum includes pictures and maps of old schoolhouses throughout the county, a book collection and a library information room.

Regular visiting hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Hedberg may be contacted at kathyhedberg@gmail.com or (208) 983-2326.

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