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Sister M. Alfreda Elsensohn created a tiny little museum in an attic at St. Gertrude’s Academy in Cottonwood in 1931. It was a way to teach her students about history, geology, biology, and other subjects. The little museum grew bit by bit over the years until today—now in its own modern building—it has more than 70,000 items.

The Historical Museum at St. Gertrude has a special collection of Nez Perce artifacts, an extensive geology exhibit, a medical collection, extensive displays on the Chinese in Idaho, and a pioneer life collection. There is an exhibit about the history of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, which you might expect. You would not expect the Rhoades Emmanuel Gallery, which features the lifetime collection of Winifred Rhoades, a renowned silent film organist whose interests include European and Asian artifacts. Yes, you’ll see Ming Dynasty vases right there on the Camas Prairie.

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