Friday, February 15, 2013

Idaho Falls allergist, family donate $1 million to Museum of Idaho

Dr. Gene Petty of Idaho Falls announces his gift to the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls.
Dr. Wendell Gene Petty, his wife, Margaret, and their family have made a $1 million donation to the Museum of Idaho to help pay for expansion.

Museum Director David Pennock announced the gift Wednesday. Petty, an Idaho Falls allergist, told reporters he hopes his family's gift will inspire others to donate to the Idaho Falls museum.

Pennock said the expansion plans are not yet final, and that they don't yet know how much it will cost or how much space they will add. The museum as it is now came into being 10 years ago when two buildings, the old Carnegie Library (later the Bonneville Museum) and the Masonic Lodge were remodeled and connected by the glass-fronted edifice that visually dominates North Eastern Avenue.

That expansion ago was made possible by Greg Carr, an Idaho Falls native who made a fortune in telecommunications then turned his attention to philanthropy.

Pennock said the extra space will help eliminate the need to shut the museum down when the staff is changing out exhibits, and that it will also provide more space for permanent exhibits. The new wing will be named after the Pettys.