In the 1960s, the North Idaho Hoo Hoo Club, an organization of loggers, lumbermen and foresters, first entertained the idea of establishing a museum. They incorporated on May 1, 1968 for a museum focusing on the history of the Coeur d’Alene Region (Kootenai, Benewah and part of Shoshone counties).
Through the efforts of volunteers and community support, the Museum opened its doors on the North Idaho College campus on July 28, 1973. In 1979, they remodeled a City-owned building (former Cenex gas station) and relocated to its current location.
The Museum’s building is too small to accommodate our programming. For 40 years, the Museum has occupied a 4,000 sq. ft. building. The building does not have heat, forcing the museum to close during the 5 months of cold winter conditions. MONI also owns a 4,000 sq. ft. off-site storage building where a majority of exhibit materials and collections are stored.
In 2019, Ignite CDA transferred land valued at over $900K to the City of Coeur d’Alene intended for a museum. MONI signed a 25-year lease with the City to occupy this parcel. Next, MONI saved the beloved 1902 J.C. White House from demolition and moved this historic landmark to its new location to serve as the centerpiece to an expanded 11,300 sq. ft. facility.