LAVA HOT SPRINGS MUSEUM AND DIRECTOR RECEIVE PRESTIGIOUS "ESTO PERPETUA AWARD" FROM THE IDAHO STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Ruth Ann Olson, Museum Director, and South Bannock County Historical Center recently received the highly esteemed "Esto Perpetua Award" from the Idaho State Historical Society. The "Esto Perpetua Award" takes its name from Idaho's state motto meaning "Let It Be Perpetual". The award criteria is based on professional excellence, significance of contribution to the
community, and long term commitment to preserving history. Since the award was created by the Society in 1999, 53 individuals and organizations from throughout the state have been honored with recognition through this award.
Ruth Ann Olson and South Bannock County Historical Center, joined seven other individuals and organizations honored at a luncheon award ceremony on September 18 at The Idaho Historical Museum in Boise, Idaho. On Saturday, October 11, 6:30 PM, at the South Bannock County Historical Center, 110 E. Main Street, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, the community will hold an public celebration honoring Ruth Ann Olson, in appreciation for her award and life long commitment to preserving and promoting area history.
Ruth Ann initiated this community museum in 1979, while employed as clerk for the Chamber of Commerce. A resident brought a copper pot used in a local whiskey still to donate to the Chamber office. At that moment, a light bulb of inspiration turned on in Ruth Ann's head. She immediately recognized the need to preserve the rich history of the small rural communities in the south area of Bannock County. Word traveled quickly and soon additional artifacts, a player piano and pump organ, were added to the collection. Exhibits were installed in the small donated space housing the Chamber of Commerce office. Ruth Ann's enthusiasm encouraged a dedicated group of supporters to join the "museum movement".
An ever-growing collection called for numerous moves to different locations throughout Lava Hot Springs. According to Ruth Ann: "The Historical Center's moves were a sight to behold-a caravan of trucks and pickups loaded with artifacts, files, staff, board members and volunteers moving up Main Street." South Bannock County Historical Center found a permanent home in 1991, when generous supporters and former graduates of Lava High School raised funds to purchase the building which currently houses the museum's exhibits and collections. Currently, museum exhibits focus on pre-contact Native use of area resources,trappers, settlers, transportation, and development of the mineral hot baths.
This October 11 (6:30 PM) event also featured a reading and book signing by Leonard Stephenson, author of "Life Among the Lava Beds". Stephenson grew up in Lava Hot Springs during the 1950's. The stories in his book are warm hearted, hilarious recollections of growing up in a "pre-video game" days of rural America, where you had to be innovative to make a toboggan out of old tin siding, or break an unruly colt, just for fun. "Life Among the Lava Beds" captures a taste of the past with a deep touch of humorous "hind sight" mixed with decades of wisdom and fond memories. Leonard Stephenson will also present a reading and book signing in Old Town, Pocatello at Walrus and Carpenter Books on October 11, 1:00 PM.