aThe Plan

This page gets updated as we move forward with projects. Please call the museum to learn how to support and the current status of the projects.

Goal No. 1: Finish Restoration of Marsing Depot:

The museum is currently working on fully restoring the Marsing Train Depot that was moved to the museum in 1975. The depot was built in 1922 and is an example of a Union Pacific Short Line Depot. The work is funded by grants from the Idaho Heritage Trust and member support. To finish the project the entire inside and outside of the building will need to be painted in the two-tone yellow and brown paint scheme taking it back to its original look. We hope to have this completed by spring of 2024.

The current total for this project is roughly $60,000

  • New stage- DONE!
  • Wire the building for power- $10,712—–DONE!
  • Paint entire building-$10,000

 Goal No. 2: Paving of walkways and lawn redo:

The museum currently has an asphalt pathway from the back door of the museum building to the School House and Annex buildings. This pathway has improved accessibility to and from the buildings and has allowed the museum to move display items from the annex into the museum. The next step is to connect the Depot and the Stamp Mill. To do this, the gravel road behind the museum needs to be paved to provide a thoroughfare that will link the all buildings. The new pathway will provide a way to our new Print Shop building. With the addition of walkways, the lawn sprinkler system will be reconfigured to avoid hitting the pathway.

This work is currently on going.

Current estimates on this project are: $10,000

 Goal No. 3: Owyhee Print Shop:

The museum has over 20 items that were donated by the Idaho State Museum in 2011. These items originally came from Rodney and Leona Hawes print shop in Marsing and include multiple type cases, lead pot, Linotype, paper cutter, stone tables (dating back to 1862) and a printing press. All of these items were last used in 1982 when Rodney Hawes closed the print shop in Marsing. Since the arrival of the items to the museum most of the items are on display in room 2, but many items are stored. The two printing presses (Heidelberg and Meihle) and Linotype are unusable where they are but are in working order. Our goal is to have all the Owyhee Nugget items in one building and set up to fully function.

The Owyhee Nugget newspaper has roots in the county that date back to 1891 and is credited to securing the Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park, initiating the flying of the Idaho State flag over every courthouse in Idaho, and the establishment of the highway from Marsing to Indian Cove as State Highway 78 in honor of the Owyhee Cattlemen’s organization, founded in 1878.  The days of manual type setting and using lead to create a newspaper have vanished. The museum will be able to demonstrate to the public and to school groups how newspapers and any advertisements were created during the early 1900s. The Owyhee Nugget Print Shop will stand as a tribute to the Hawes family and to Owyhee County.

Operational Plan:

With the new print shop building, a group of volunteers will be trained on how to operate all machines. These volunteers will be dedicated to the printing enterprise and will come out for events to run to run the machines and educate public on the printing process. The group will be trained by Robert Schaffer, who operated all equipment during his printing career at job shops and newspapers.

Current estimates on this project are: $70,000 and the building has been graciously donated by R&M Steel.

Goal No. 4: Construct a new Storage Building

The Museum is growing, as you can see. We need are in need of another building to store our large equipment. The Annex building which was built in 2017 is now filling up. We use the Annex for our large equipment storage along with having our bazaars and lectures inside. We are now looking toward the future of acquiring more items and that’s where a new building comes in. This building will be 50X75 steel building with a concrete  floor and will hold wagons, farm equipment and other items needing to be stored inside. 

Current estimates on this project are: $50,000

Expanding the Museum Property

The museum is growing with more attendance during events and more items being donated we are needing more room. Part of the Dare to Dream Campaign is to expand the museums clientele and property. Currently the museum rests on 2.5 acres which includes a side gravel lot west of the Annex. At this time the museum has reached its capacity for expansion. We just have no more room to grow. With the Print Shop going in next to the Stamp Mill and a planned Storage Building going on the side gravel lot this will max out the museum property. It is time to look for more ground to ensure the continued growth of the museum.

Currently behind the museum complex where we host the Outpost Days cattle drive and where all the kids go hunting for Horny Toads is a desert parcel that belongs to the County. I am looking into what it would take to acquire this lot for the museum. If this parcel is acquired it would add 4.6 acres to the museum. This parcel is the last piece of sage desert in town and it could be used for a wide range of activities from teaching desert ecology to the school kids, carving out dirt campsites for re-enactors to set up in during Outpost Days and having a permanent place for the cattle drive arena. Having more land will also allow us to have room to build the Owyhee & War Eagle Railroad.

 Goal No. 5: Owyhee & War Eagle Railroad (O&WE)

At one time Murphy was the closest rail head for cattlemen from Southern Oregon to Northern Nevada. Murphy was the terminus of the Boise Nampa & Owyhee Railroad from 1903 till 1947. Few remnants from the line still exist today. The plan is to build a 15-inch gauge railroad at the museum. The size and scale of this railroad is called “grand scale” railroading and is often found at amusement and community parks. With a narrow-gauge line, the history of railroads in Owyhee County is brought back to life in miniature form. Visitors can ride and learn about how the railroad connected communities in the county with the outside world through a recorded narration played onboard. Preserving the history that built America and the impact the railroads had on Owyhee County is the overall goal, along with having fun.

Why should the museum have a railroad? By building the railroad the museum would be the only Grand Scale gauge railroad in the Treasure Valley and in Idaho putting the museum on the map. It will also broaden the museum’s clientele. With the railroad the possibilities on its use are endless. The museum could take part in National Train Day and have model rail clubs set up in the preserved Marsing Depot. The railroad would attract other 15-inch gauge railroad clubs from across the country where they could set up for a weekend and have events centered around a “steam up” weekend. The museum could also partner with local organizations and host events around the train. The train would operate during Outpost Days and become a special Polar Express during our Tree Lighting. Possibility’s are endless.

Railroad Operational Plan:

When completed, the O&WE Railroad will loop the backside of the current museum complex with 2,500 ft. of 20 lb. rail. The equipment will consist of: two or three pedal power rail bikes and eventually one diesel locomotive and two gondola cars. Operation of said railroad will be during museum hours. The fare for the ride will be around $5 per person.  The ride would take you around the backside of the museum.

In conclusion, the daily operation and maintenance of the railroad would go to a “Friends of the Railroad” group. This group of volunteers would be overseen by the museum director to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Current budget for this project is: $95,000

First phase: 2023-2024

  • Finish Marsing Depot restoration, painting of building in 2024.
  • Paving of walk ways to buildings, Summer 2024
    • seeking bids for asphalt
    • installing new sprinkler system, before end of 2023
    • Removal of gravel road to asphalt.
  • Begin fundraising for Owyhee Nugget Print Shop, Fundraising going on now!
    • R&M Steel donation of 60X25’ all steel construction building is secured.
      • Acquire all permits and drawings
      • Removal of sprinkler box(done), relocate mower shed(Done)
      • Locate septic system
        • Evaluate for use( Done)
      • Break ground, prepare for foundation
      • Construction of building, late 2024
      • Begin raising funds Railroad. Fundraising going on now!
        • Seek out major sponsors and donors
        • incorporate the track plan into backyard lawn plan.

Overall, in Phase 1, our ultimate goals are to finish restoration of the Marsing Depot and reconfigure the lawn for future of paved pathways and Railroad, and in this time frame to finalize all details for Print Shop and laying ground work for its construction. And of course, raise money!

Second Phase: 2024-2025

  • Construction of Print Shop, late 2024
    • Summer of 2024 all pathways and sprinkler project be completed.
    • Design new display panels that walk the public through each step of the printing process.
    • Ribbon Cutting by end of year of 2025.
  • Construction of Railroad based on funding.
    • acquire all items for railroad, rails, ties, spikes, equipment, etc.

Executive Summary:

We hope that this business plan has piqued your interest and inspired you to share in the passions of the Museum Director and Board of the Owyhee County Museum, the passion for not only preserving history, but making that history come alive for generations to come. This is the biggest complex expansion the museum has ever undertaken. We hope to achieve these goals while continuing to operate, and to provide the public an outstanding museum by 2025. This plan will only be doable with your support. We hope we have conveyed throughout this plan that our goal is to bring history in a fun and educational way to generations to come. The museum will be a shining star among all other county museums, showing that this is what can be done with a dream and support. 

                                                                     Walt Disney once said “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

            We here at the Owyhee County Museum are dreaming of a bright future and we hope we can count on your support.

Donor Levels


You will be our new best friend! You have the option of having your name added to the new Building or project supported. The name must be mutually agreed upon by both OCHS and the Donor. Your name will be honored with a tasteful plaque at the entrance to the building or at project supported and be referred to in Museum literature and press releases.

            In addition:

  1. An 8”x8” commemorative tile will be placed on the building in your honor.
  2. A life time membership for you and/or your company at the Museum
  3. Free inclusion in all museum special event advertising.
  4. A lifetime subscription to Outpost Journal.
  5. Private dinner hosted at the museum by the Director, highlighting the completed project.

$10,000 to $50,000

Don’t worry you will also be our new best friend! You may choose to have yourself or your family/business honored by having your name affixed to one of the projects. Your name will be honored with a tasteful plaque at the entrance to the room and be referred to in Museum literature and press releases.

  1. An 8”x8” commemorative tile in your honor.
  2. A life time membership for you and/or your company at the Museum
  3. Free inclusion in all museum special event advertising.
  4. A lifetime subscription to Outpost Journal.
  5. Private dinner hosted at the museum by the Director, highlighting the completed project.

Other ways to donate

We appreciate your generous support! Here you will find other ways to support each project.

  1. “Buy a Tie and Lay Track for the Future”. Each tie is $150 and comes with a plaque with your name on it.
  2. “Printing Owyhee Counties History”, each tile is 8X7” for $250. The tile will have your