Merci Train - Idaho

Idaho Merci Boxcar Idaho flag

Old Idaho State Penitentiary
2445 E. Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, Idaho 82712-8254 - (208) 334-2844

The state museum and library in Boise both have sizeable collections of items from the Merci Train.


The Idaho Merci Box Car is located inside the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site within the Transportation Exhibit. Admission to the exhibit is included in the admission to the Old Idaho Penitentiary ($5 Adults, $4 Seniors-60+, $3 Children 6-12yrs, AAA discount available). The Old Idaho Penitentiary is open 12pm-5pm daily year-round (from Memorial Day to Labor Day the Old Pen is open 10am-5pm). If you have any other questions about the site please contact Amber Beierle at (208) 334-2844, or E-mail her.


Notice - Effective August, 2013

Due to reduced staffing at the museum, the Transportation Exhibition is no longer open to the public on a daily basis. Time and staff permitting they do allow people to visit the car. If you visit between November and March, they can almost always accommodate visits. During the busy season of April - October it's much more difficult. You are welcome to plan a guided tour program and they can include a visit there.


Printer Friendly version of the above location information.

I recently received, as a gift from the author, and read a wonderful novel for Junior High school age children about the history of the Friendship Train. Linda Baten Johnson is a person who loves to tell stories and a master of the art of weaving together the facts of history and the fictional characters she has created to help her make the history memorable to her audience. Although her intended audience is juniors, I am 80 years old and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the time I spent reading the book.
Here is a link to her website,, which tells where the book may be purchased.

Images of Idaho Merci Artifacts courtesy of the Idaho Historical Museum

Click on the images below to view full size

Idaho Gift 5 Idaho Gift 3 Idaho Gift 4
Idaho Gift 6 Idaho Gift 2 Idaho Gift 1

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This sculpture was one of the hundreds of gifts the people of France included in the Merci Train boxcar that they sent to Idaho. The sculpture is on display within the Idaho State Capitol building in Boise. These pictures have been graciously provided by Susan Furness, who offered to photograph the sculpture and send me copies of them for display on this page. The work of art is a copy of the original sculpture named, "Winged Victory of Samothrace", which is housed at The Louvre Museum in Paris, France. A web site about Greek art allowed me to learn the following about the original sculpture:

"It is 3.8m (11 feet) high and was discovered among ruins of the Greek city Samothrace in 190 BC". No further information was given, such as to who the sculptor was. Probably because of the circumstances in which it was reportedly discovered in 190 BC."

Likewise, at least at this time (July 2010), 1 have no information as to the identity of the French (I assume) sculptor of the copy shown here. The Idaho State Historical Society also has a number of others of the Merci gifts in their collections.

We would much appreciate anyone having further knowledge about this gift sharing that information with us. (See our contact info on "Home" page).


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