Civic Season Featured Program: Teen Takeover by Idaho History Museum

Made By Us
3 min readDec 11, 2023
2022–2023 GEM High School Interns.

As we count down to Civic Season 2024, we highlight how organizations across the U.S. are joining in this new national celebration.

The story of the Idaho State Historical Society began 140 years ago — before Idaho was even a state! Over the time, the mission has grown from the original charge of chronicling the state’s story to engaging Idahoans through inspiring educational services that empower their decision making.

2024 Civic Season Featured Event: Teen Takeover

The Teen Takeover is designed as a teen planned and led event for ages 13–18. The Idaho Histoyr Museum provided free admission and all Museum exhibitions were open. The event can include components such as live music, crafts, activities, scavenger hunts, a photo booth, booths from other community organizations, food, prizes, and more. As part of the planning and evaluation for this event, the Museum looked at the power of peer marketing between teens and offers up many other tips for empowering youth to design and execute programs.

Discover step-by-step how to host your own Teen Takeover at your organization here.

Joining Civic Season

While searching for other organizations that engage with Gen Z as templates for expanding the GEM program, that the Museum found Made By Us and Civic Season. With the research into Gen Z, the program resources and national networking opportunities provided by Civic Season, the Idaho State Museum was able to expand the existing high school internship program. GEM interns have enjoyed feeling connected to a larger national event and a larger national story — to connect Idaho’s past to America’s future. Participating in this national commemoration also increased awareness of the Museum.

“We the Teens: Gen Z & The Pursuit of…” exhibit created by the GEM interns. The final panel in the exhibit included a QR code to the Idaho voter registration webpage.

Advice we would give to similar organizations that are thinking about joining is to think about what you already do that matches with Civic Season and think about building from there. You don’t have to start something big; you can grow from something pre-existing or start small!

Diving Deeper

An important part of the Historical Society is the Idaho State Museum, where staff care for and share the state’s history. After a major renovation in 2018, Idaho State Museum was ready to expand their exhibits and public programming. The following year, the Museum piloted its program GEM (Guide, Mobilize, Engage), a high school internship opportunity to encourage involvement from new audiences, including Gen Z. The internship program brings together passionate and curious teens to learn more about the history field and make a difference in their community. The basic premise of the program — knowledge of the past informs people’s present and future. History serves as the foundation for so many other disciplines and can be used as a lens for citizens to understand where we have come from as a country and how we can approach the future as informed citizens.

The Idaho History Museum’s Executive Director, Janet Gallimore, said it best: “By sharing information and understanding about Idaho, we provide tangible links to the past that illuminate and give context to the present. By stewarding Idaho’s historical collections that resonate with story, we ensure that future generations have a foundation on which to build. By providing access to government records, we continue the legacy of freedoms afforded our state by its guiding documents and citizen action. Historic sites immerse visitors in compelling, authentic learning environments. Through exhibitions, public programs, and purposeful conversations, our state’s story is a beacon for civic engagement.”