Jackson Hole Historical Society moving to Genevieve block

Executive Director Morgan Jaouen talks about some of the items on display at the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum. The artifacts are slated to move to the Genevieve block, with help from voter-approved sales tax funding and private donations. The nonprofit closed Thursday on a land purchase for the museum’s new home.

For the first time in its more than 60-year history, the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum will own both its museum and the land where it sits.

The organization closed Thursday on its purchase of the southeast corner of the historic Van Vleck Block.

“We feel thrilled to have the opportunity to build a new, permanent museum campus on The Block that will anchor Jackson Hole history in a relevant location, while creating a visible, engaging campus for generations to come,” Executive Director Morgan Jaouen said in a news release.

Though the museum operates out of a North Cache building that was purchased with specific purpose excise tax dollars, it doesn’t own the dirt under it. It lost its Mercill property to an affordable housing project, and its Deloney property can be used only for summer programs.

After the Jackson Hole Land Trust raised $7 million to “save the block” at 135 E. Broadway last summer, voters approved $4.4 million in SPET funding to help the Historical Society and Museum move its operations there.

The museum will share the block with the Jackson Hole Land Trust, the Teton County Historic Preservation Board, Cafe Genevieve, Persephone Bakery, Healthy Being Cafe and Juicery, and an anonymous donor family.

The $4.4 million in SPET funding was expected to cover about half the museum’s project cost, to be matched by fundraising and the sale of the its North Cache building.

The new museum campus will incorporate new construction and save historic log cabins. It will provide exhibit, educational and community spaces, and will present the breadth of Jackson Hole history from indigenous peoples, explorers and settlers to tourists, entrepreneurs and recreationists, the nonprofit said.

Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington has worked for newspapers across the West. She hosts a rescue podcast, The Fine Line. Her family minivan doubles as her not-so-high-tech recording studio.

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