Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Basque Museum and Cultural Center

The first Thursday of every month in Boise is known as "First Thursday" and different businesses throughout town do different things to celebrate the event.  As far as I can tell, this happens all year, not just in the summer.

September's first Thursday just happened, and you can find a schedule of events through the Downtown Boise Association.  Some places celebrate every month, and some places make guest appearances.  Here is September's schedule:

The event is really awesome because a lot of places that close early during the week stay open extra long.  One place on my list to check out during First Thursday is the Boise Art Museum.  Not only is admission free during this event, but it is open extra late untl 9:00 pm.

You can usually find a variety of free wine tastings as well.

Last week I decided to check out the Basque Museum and Cultural Center. My interest was originally peaked because it is listed in the book, "1,000 Places to See Before You Die: USA and Canada."

It is my understanding that the exhibits change, though I am not sure the frequency.  When I went last week, the exhibit was "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Basques."  It was recently featured in NYC at the Ellis Island National Monument Museum.

Here is the normal fee schedule for the museum:
Adults - $5
Seniors (65+) - $4
Students - $4
Children (6-12) - $3
Children (5 & under) – Free
BMCC Members – Free with membership card
On first Thursdays, entrance is free.
The museum hours make it really difficult for me to make it on a normal week.
Tuesday - Friday: 10:00am to 4:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am to 3:00pm
Sunday, Monday and Holidays: Closed

If you are like I was and have no idea what it means to be Basque -- the Basque country is between Spain and France (I think technically it is part of Spain) and quite small.  The region is 135 miles from north to south, and 115 miles from east to west.

I really loved the museum and as far as museums go, this is as good as any I have been to.  From the outside, the place doesn't look very impressive, but inside it is a hidden gem.  There is a LOT of information to take in, and if you enjoy museums, I would suggest going alone when you have quite a bit of time.  It was fun to go with people, but I like to take it all in and I am a bit slower at exploring than most.  It would be lovely to go on a rainy day, tea latte in hand, and check the whole place out.

I thought the Basque Lauburu was beautiful.  I swear I have seen the emblem before, but never knew what it was related to.

This symbol has been found in the Basque culture dating back to 200 BC! Some say it signifies the four heads or regions of the Basque country. 
My favorite part of the Museum/Cultural Center was the free tour of the Jacobs-Uberuaga boarding house.  This is a little house nestled right on the Basque district.  The attention to detail is phenomenal.  The house used to be a home, and then it became a boarding house for Basque sheepherders.  The front area of the house is restored for how it would have been in the time of the family home, and the back/second story of the house is restored in the style of the boarding house.
The restoration is so impressive that even the wallpaper is a geniune reproduction from scraps of wallpaper that were found left on the wall.  There are hundred year old quilts on the beds in the house.  There are some pieces of actual furniture the Jacobs family had in their own.  It is amazing!
I would definitely recommend checking this out during a First Thursday event, so you can scope it all out for free.  There are no tours on Saturdays, so if you want to see the house (which you should!) and you are a working person, First Thursday is your best bet.  If you are able to go during the week, tours are conducted from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tues. through Fri. (last full tour at 2:00 p.m.).
I am not positive the First Thursday times for tours...I think they were from 5:00-8:30 maybe...
Overall, I would suggest checking this museum out.  I am not sure how often the exhibits change, but I am looking forward to learning more about the Basque culture.  Go alone if you love museums and want to take your time.  If you go with others, one of you will probably end up bored while the other is engrossed.  No matter what or when, make sure you check out the Jacbos-Uberuaga house!

1 comment:

Lauren said...

This looks like a great museum--the attention to detail sounds amazing. We have a First Friday music crawl and a Final Friday art crawl. I keep meaning to go but I haven't yet!