“From Pioneer Days to Modern Ways” is on display in the entryway of the exhibit hall at the Boundary County Fair Grounds. One hundred years of fair history has been captured through photos, newspaper articles, and research documents compiled by the Boundary County Museum. Each decade is highlighted on a panel, beginning with the 1920’s fair held in Maughan Park (on the north side of the Kootenai River), and continues through 2019. Additional panels feature the histories of the 4-H Clubs in Boundary County, and the FFA (Future Farmers of America) and FHA (Future Homemakers of America) organizations at Bonners Ferry High School. Past fair royalty can be viewed on their own featured panel. The history of the Boundary County Museum’s involvement in past fairs, as well as current information can be enjoyed on the Museum panel.
The project began when the Fair Board asked Curator Sue Kemmis to provide the historical documents required to span 100 years of the Boundary County Fair. In February, 2020, four students from NIC who needed a community project for a class assignment came to volunteer at the Museum. Sue assigned them to research the archives of the Bonners Ferry Herald, looking for photos, articles, advertisements, etc. pertaining to the fair, beginning with the first fair in 1920. The young men, Nathan, Robert, Douglas, and Cole perused years of old issues, flagging each page where fair information could be found. Next, Sue would take a digital scan of the photo or article, archiving it into the computer, creating files that could be printed for use in building the panels.
The next step was similar to putting together a jigsaw puzzle, fitting photos and text into visually appealing arrangements that would ultimately become the panels you will see when you visit the 2020 Fair. In addition to Sue, volunteers who helped with the project are Howard Kent, Beulah Patterson, Alice Hendrickson, Randy Cummings, and Dottie Gray. The Museum hopes you will enjoy “From Pioneer Days to Modern Ways,” at the fair starting on Wednesday, August 12th.