Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Heritage & Ski Museum re-opens with new look

Express Staff Writer

Photo courtsey The Ski and Heritage Museum The Old Bald Mountain Lodge and hot springs circa 1930.

When something isn't quite working, sometimes a little rearranging can make a world of difference. At the Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society Heritage & Ski Museum, new executive director Donna Simms did just that, and on Thursday, Dec. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. during Gallery Walk the Heritage & Ski Museum will re-open to show off its brand new style.

"I feel like we live in a world class resort, and we have all these world class entities—the trails, the mountains, the writer's conference—and the museum was not keeping up with it," Simms said. "People would always ask why the ski museum was not in the main building. Now, the main building houses the ski museum and winter recreation."

The board of directors hired Simms in September to take the museum to another level. Simms is a former manager at the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley and has established an extensive background in public service. She found the museum needed to have a fresh and more updated look, so she and a few volunteers remodeled the inside of the historic building in downtown Ketchum to feature some of its more prized possessions.

The museum showcases many Olympic athletes who have lived or trained in Sun Valley and features the history of Sun Valley Co. and Bald Mountain. One of the crown jewels of the museum's collection is the Don and Gretchen Fraser exhibit. There is also an exhibition on Jimmy Griffith, a prominent athlete whose life was cut short by an accident.

On the heritage side, there is a fairly large display on Hemingway, exhibits on the history of Native Americans in the area and history about mining in the region. A new exhibit on the Union Pacific Railroad is small, but Simms hopes it is something she will be able to expand in the future.

"We have three of the historic buildings to be museum space," Simms said. "We have wonderful artifacts that people have donated, and we don't have the space to exhibit all of them. We have to rotate, and we have new artifacts, which we don't have the space for exhibition."

Simms believes visitors will be able to see the museum better now because the remodeling has given it more of an archival feel.

"The remodeling was to keep up with all the artifacts we have, and I am working on curating new exhibits," she said. "Previously, it may have been too overwhelming to change exhibits around. I think the big plan is to renovate and find the capital to do so and have more space for exhibits."

For more information, call 726-8118 or visit

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