MULLAN — On the far east end of Shoshone County there sits a gem that gets seemingly unnoticed despite being a wealth of awesome information.
The Captain John Mullan Museum is one of the most informative tours Kloe has been on to date and she wants to let as many people know about it as possible.
Housed in the old Liberty Theater building, the Museum facility was donated by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) as a place to preserve Mullan history.
The IOOF still has a meeting hall in a great room housed on the top floor of the building, but the main level is all about Mullan’s colorful and ever-growing history.
Curator Cathy Hendryx was ready to greet and guide Kloe upon arrival, possessing a mountain of information herself, Hendryx is the perfect tour guide for Mullan.
After a detailed history of the building itself, the museum begins with a mining exhibit that really gives insight to mining in Mullan.
Kloe found the concept of the carbide headlamps formerly worn by miners to be both interesting and horrifying.
“I would want to have something like that strapped to my head,” Kloe said with a laugh.
After mining, the museum expands into multiple exhibits beginning with some information on Mullan’s namesake and the indelible mark he left on the area.
“I had no idea how Mullan got its name,” Kloe said. “Captain Mullan was not just important here, but to the whole area we live in.”
One of the most fascinating displays in the museum is the chunk of the original Mullan Tree that sits behind a sheet of protective glass.
“This is part of the original tree that Captain Mullan carved into on top of Fourth of July Pass,” Hendryx said.
One of Kloe’s favorite parts about these adventures is finding something or someone she recognizes and Kloe has some roots in Mullan that made this adventure a lot of fun for her.
“Finding the yearbook picture of my Papa (Bob Jutila, Kloe’s maternal grandfather) was really cool for me,” Kloe said. “I loved all the history they had about the town and the schools. Going through the yearbooks and seeing the pictures of places I have been was really fun.”
Exhibits with household items from ages long gone painted a picture of early life in Mullan.
There is also a pretty cool section devoted to Mullan legend Norma Zimmer, better known as the “Champagne Lady” from the Lawrence Welk Show.
“Wallace has Lana Turner, we have Norma Zimmer,” Hendryx said with a smile.
After absorbing the museum in its entirety, including a quick visit to the IOOF Meeting Hall upstairs, Kloe was excitedly overflowing with new information.
“That place was so cool,” Kloe said. “I definitely think people should go up there and check it out. Especially if you’re from here and have never been inside. There’s so much to learn about one of our smallest towns.”
The Captain John Mullan Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., but only has a month left before they close up for the fall and winter.
For more information or to schedule a group tour, call Cathy Hendryx at 208-744-1155.