Westmark Credit Union Donates $500K Toward Local Museum Exhibit


Westmark President and CEO, Rich Leonardson, presents a ceremonial check to Karen Baker, Executive Director for the Museum of Idaho.

Westmark Credit Union, based in eastern Idaho, recently donated $500,000 to the Museum of Idaho to support the exciting new exhibit, The Way Out West, which has been in planning and development stages for three years.

On Dec. 13, after a short press conference held in front of the museum’s famous 14-foot mammoth replica, Bia-Dekape, Westmark President and CEO Rich Leonardson, handed a ceremonial oversized check to Karen Baker, Executive Director for the museum. Throughout its 65-year history, giving back to the community has always been a core value for Westmark.  

“Over the years, Westmark has partnered with successful nonprofit organizations that provide enrichment and educational opportunities to individuals and families in the region,” said Leonardson. “MOI is an extraordinary example of such an organization.”

The Museum of Idaho is immensely grateful for the donation, said museum spokesman and Director of Public Relations, Jeff Carr.

“The Way Out West exhibit is a big deal for us,” Carr said. “In the past, we’ve had space constraints that have prevented us from really telling the story of our state and region in a thoughtful and compelling way. We’re hoping this will not only give our tourists a sense of the region and all it has to offer, but elevate local pride in our own community as well.”

The exhibit is set to debut later this year. It’s expected to take up two floors and be divided into seven sections, ranging from geology and native cultures to Idaho’s contributions in advancing space exploration. The Way Out West aims to celebrate 14,000-plus years of Idaho history through original artifacts, immersive models, augmented reality, interactive activities, and more.

The Museum of Idaho is not only frequented by locals; tens of thousands of out-of-state and out-of-country visitors come to learn more about Idaho and its rich, yet often overlooked, past. The museum hopes The Way Out West exhibit will give tourists a better sense of the region and what role it has played in our national history.

“We in east Idaho don’t often see ourselves reflected in popular culture, art, or literature, and we’re excited to give our own children and neighbors a chance to learn about their place in the world in a way that hasn’t been done before,” said Carr.

Westmark Credit Union has been a vital supporter of the museum for 15 years and sponsored multiple traveling exhibits, Carr explained.

“We share similar values regarding the community and customer service, and we couldn’t be more excited to take that partnership to the next level.”

To learn more about the Museum of Idaho and to see renderings of The Way Out West exhibit, visit it online.

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