Time flies at the Basque Museum!

Whoa!  Time flies when you’re having fun!  That is absolutely the case at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center the last few months, anyway.  The last time we updated our blog was this summer (June, to be exact), and for this, we apologize.  We have been very busy.  Let us catch you up on the goings-on of the Basque Block and the Basque Museum.


Gearing up for the Basque Foundation’s (The Basque Center at 601 Grove Street) annual San Inazio Basque Festival, we organized San Inazio for Beginners with the Basque Market, and it was a hit.  We had quite a few people from outside the Basque community attend the two-hour event.  We discussed everything from “What is Basque?” to “Why is everything purchased with tickets at the festival?” to “Who on Earth thought bad wine and coke would be a great idea?” and everything in between.  Attendees of San Inazio for Beginners were given a behind-the-scenes tours of the Basque Block, the basic how-to’s of the weekend, who does what and where.  It was a great opportunity for the Basque Block to show off all the great volunteers that help with all the organizing for the event.  The Basque Market discussed pintxos, Basque appetizers, and everyone was able to try them as well.  The event was rounded out with a Sagardoa, Basque hard cider, lesson and tasting and dance lesson, perfect to get everyone ready for the big San Inazio weekend.  It went so well, that we are planning another presentation, but next summer it will be Jaialdi for Beginners, so look forward to that in July 2015!  We had loads of visitors during San Inazio and enjoy the event the Basque Foundation organizes every year.  Photos can be found on our Facebook page.


Winefest 2014.  What can be said about Winefest?  It was a great success thanks to our amazing volunteers, sponsors and donors.  We had more than 500 participants that took away gift baskets, food, bikes, and of course wine!  It was a great time had by all and we hope you mark your calendar for the next Winefest – August 14, 2015!  Below are photos taken by of the event.


September and October

September brings school groups evening programs and presentations and Euskara classes.  This year we have seen an increase in school groups visiting us already, and are very excited to have so many kiddos coming through the doors of the Basque Museum & Cultural Center, learning about the Basque Country, immigration the the western United States, sheepherding, boarding houses, frontons, pala, music and dance!  We look forward to the groups that we have scheduled in the next few months, and hope to have more and more come see us.  We also have had a record number of students in our evenin Euskara classes.  With more than 40 students in Children's Euskara and three levels of Adult Language Class, we hope they continue to learn Basque and have a chance to try it out at Jaialdi in July, 2015.  We have also been scheduling some great presentations on the second Thursday of each month. Working with Boise State Basque Studies and other groups on the Basque Block, we have had presented on many topics and continue to schedule more and more events each month in 2015 for the public to take part in.  Check our website's calendar for the most up-to-date information on all of these events.

And now…

We are working on getting more volunteers for tours and helping out with various activities that we have going here at the Basque Museum.  If you or someone you know would like to work with a great group of people and help out the community, please contact us – click here!

We are also gearing up for our First Thursday in December.  It is going to be a big one!  Food, drink, live music and free admission!  Who would pass that up?  And if that wasn’t enough, there will be HUGE sales in the Museum Store!  Perfect timing for Christmas!  Come down December 4 beginning at 5:30pm and join in on the fun!

Summer at BMCC

Now that the new exhibits are up and the Expanding Horizons public recognition piece has been unveiled, we have shifted into the summer mode of daily tours, tour groups, and interns. Still busy, yes, but not the usual groups and visitors, so always exciting!

New Exhibits about Frontons and Boarding Houses in the United States a Continual Project

On June 5, The Basque Museum & Cultural Center opened to new exhibits – The Basque Fronton and A Basque Sense of Home. The former, a history of the Basque games of handball, pelota and jai alai. The exhibit showcases the Anduiza Boarding House and Fronton which is celebrating its 100th year. There are also photos and video of frontons and games played all over the United States. Visitors can even try playing the game on an Apple iPad connected to Apple TV for others to watch! The second exhibit, A Basque Sense of Home, works to explain the concept of the Basque Boarding or Rooming House in the United States and the impact it has made on the Basque-American culture. Visitors can view photos from many of the boarding houses all over the U.S. There is also an entire section dedicated to the Cyrus Jacobs/Uberuaga Boarding House as it celebrates its 150th anniversary. From the history of the Jacobs family that built the house, now a Basque icon, to the archaeological dig that took place in 2012, this exhibit tells it all. With interviews from Basques that grew up in their parent’s boarding houses, you will be sure to get a Basque sense of home from the 1800’s to present day.

Expanding Horizons Public Recognition Piece – Priceless Artwork All Its Own

After receiving a gift of more than a half million dollars from a very generous woman in Nevada, The Basque Museum & Cultural Center decided to start a campaign to raise more money in order to expand their educational programs, collections and exhibitions on a more permanent basis. After 3 years and nearly 300 donors, we reached our goal, plus a little more! As part of the campaign, called Expanding Horizons, all the donors were to be publicly recognized in a permanent art piece. So as part of our June 5 exhibit opening, we unveiled the public art piece, designed and created by Teresa McHugh. Not only a beautiful work of art, but also a thank you to all those generous people, businesses and organizations that helped the Basque Museum & Cultural Center reach a very big goal. Eskerrik asko! Thank you!

Daily House Tours, Tour Groups, and New Interns, Oh My!

House tours are in full swing with our great volunteers coming daily to give tours at 12 noon and 1:30 pm. We have already had quite a few visitors and look forward to a busy summer.

Group tours are also arriving on a regular basis as well this summer. Typically the school year keeps us busy with school groups studying city and state history, but the summer season provides us with an opportunity not only to regroup for the next year, but also to showcase the Basque culture and Boise’s culture to the many tour groups that come through the area. From as near as just a few blocks away to as far away as Pakistan, Georgia and Palestine, we welcome all tour groups and thoroughly enjoy educating them about the Basque culture just as much as learning about their history and culture!

For the past few years, the Basque Museum & Cultural Center has worked with the University of Idaho and Boise State University to provide on-site internships for those interested in Basque culture, history and/or museum studies. This year we were fortunate enough to have 3 interns from the University of Idaho, Jaclyn Lasuen, Amy Pendegraft, and Camilla Van Natter. Two of these interns are part of the Cenarrusa Internship at the University of Idaho and the third, from Expanding Horizons funds. These three interns will be focusing mainly on cataloging artifacts, but will also be assisting with tours and events that take place over the summer months.

So come on down to visit, check out the new exhibits, the Expanding Horizons Recognition Piece, or just to say 'hello', and just as Patty Miller, our Executive Director, told me on my first day nearly a year ago, “There is never a boring day at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center”!

New Exhibits Set to Open June 5!


On June 5th, the Basque Museum will celebrate the opening of not one, but two new exhibits.  Replacing the current exhibit on Basque Sports will be an exhibit on Basque frontons.  This exhibit will try to show the variety of courts located throughout the US with historic photos, texts and artifacts related to the ball games played on these courts.  About half of this exhibit will be focused on the Anduiza Fronton, located at 619 Grove Street in Boise. The exhibit will also feature an interactive Basque handball app that can be played on an iPad.


The second of the two new exhibits will replace the current art gallery, and will be focused on Basque Boarding Houses in the United States.  Over the last few months, the museum has been collecting historic photographs of boarding houses and will showcase those along with artifacts from a wide range of these historic homes once used by Basque sheepherders.  A large part of this exhibit gallery will be dedicated to the early history of the Cyrus Jacobs/Uberuaga House, in particular, the Jacobs time period during the latter half of the 19th century.  Here, visitors will learn about the Jacobs family, see artifacts from their time in the house and will also be able to see some of the artifacts recovered from the family well during the archaeological excavation that took place on site during the summer of 2012.         


Thursday, June 5, we will start the festivities at 6pm with our annual meeting in the classroom area of the Museum. We will then unveil our Expanding Horizons public recognition piece and open our new exhibits in two of the museum’s galleries. Local musicians will play and everyone can enjoy pintxos and beverages to celebrate. See you all there!

Discovering Your Roots Genealogy Symposium

Boise State, Basque Museum & Cultural Center, Idaho Genealogical Society and Idaho State Historical Society will be sponsoring a geneaology symposium March 16th and 17th at Boise State BoDo.  


Sunday, March 16, beginning at 3pm, Patrick Shannon, Dean of the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University and John Ysursa, Director of Basque Studies at Boise State University will welcome visiting genealogists and attendees.  They will also give a run-through of the days' schedules.

At 3:30pm we will be viewing the Basque documentary Gazta Zati Bat. (Taken from   

"This story commences in a small town in the Basque Country (Euskal Herria) which is known throughout the world for its cheese. Its inhabitants leave their differences caused by the last armed conflict in Europe to one side so that they can ndertake a mission: to be able to choose what they are in the world. This adventure will convert them into witnesses of the historical events of two nations which will be big news in Europe: Scotland and the Basque Country. A great story written in small letters. A documentary about the new era which makes us look towards the future."

At 5:30pm there will a reception to follow at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center (611 Grove Street)

Monday, March 17 at 9am, Steve Barrett, State Archivist at the Idaho State Historical Society, will be giving a brief introduction on using the Idaho State archives for family history research. 

At 9:30am, Lisa Corcostegui, genealogist at The Basque Branch will be introducing ideas and resources to aide in researching Basque ancestry. 

10:15am, we will receive an introduction to the Irish and Scots-Irish Family history research by Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt of the Ulster Historical Foundation in Belfast, Ireland.

There will be a lunch break from 12-2pm at the location of your choosing.

At 2pm, we will continue with the visitors from Ulster Historical Foundation looking at emigration from the North of Ireland to North America in the 18th Century and look at examples of successful Irish searches.

5pm will begin our celebration of St. Patrick's Day at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center (611 Grove Street) featuring both Basque and Irish food and spirits.

Sunday is free of charge but donations are greatly appreciated.  Monday, the cost will be $15 for the geneaology workshop, and the reception will be free of charge (donations appreciated).  If you have any questions, or would like to sign up for the workshop, contact the Basque Museum & Cultural Center at 343.2671

The speakers:

Lisa M. Corcostegui has been conducting genealogical research for over 25 years and is a member of the Antzinako Genealogy and Historical Association.  With two partners, she launched the Basque Branch Genealogical Services in 2011.  In addition to research, print services, and publishing, the Basque Branch engages in outreach to the Basque Community.  Lisa has lived and conducted research in the Basque Country and has taught Basque genealogy at Boise State University through the Basque Studies Program.  She holds and M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature and a Ph.D. in Basque Studies (Anthropology) for the University of Nevada, Reno.

Fintan Mullan has been Executive Director of Ulster Historical Foundation since 2001.  With IT partners BRS Systems he pioneered the births, deaths and marriages online record system for Antrim and Down, which let to, the Irish Family History Foundation’s unique database with over 20 million Irish historical records, making it the most useful online resource for Irish research.  Fintan is a regular speaker on the North American circuit.  He holds a bachelor's degree in Irish Politics and Philosophy and a master's degree in Organization and Management from Queen's University in Belfast.

Gillian Hunt is Research Officer with the Ulster Historical Foundation and is responsible for the management of the Foundation's many genealogical activities.  Gillian carries out research for clients and is an experienced user of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the General Register Office.  She regularly teaches courses in Northern Ireland and gives talks on family history in the rest of Ireland, the UK, and the United States.  Gillian holds a B.A. in History and an M.A. in Historical Studies for the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Research Advice:


Ulster Historical Foundation.  A research consultation is an advisory service the UHF offers during their lecture tours.  Staff give one-to-one advice on specific research queries or the research interests of the client.  Please note the consultation is not actual research, rather it is very specific advice on research possibilities.

Please pay by February 28 by clicking here.

Gillian Hunt, Ulster Historical Foundation, 49 Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 6RY
Email:        Website:
Phone: ++44 28 9066 1988       Fax: ++44 28 9066 1977


Basque Family History.  Please contact Lisa Corcostegui directly concerning questions about Basque family history by emailing (website:


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Auzolan - New Basque Block Initiative









Boise’s Basque community is proud to announce the creation of a new initiative – Auzolan. Auzolan, in Euskara, means neighborhood work. Towns in the Basque Country used to form these groups to fix roads and bridges, things that would benefit the entire neighborhood. This concept has evolved a bit for Boise’s Basque Block. Businesses and organizations that call The Basque Block their home, are using this initiative not only to benefit the Block as a whole, but Boise and the surrounding areas as well.

Auzolan is working together to bring Basque Block Thursdays to life. Basque Block Thursdays consists of a program, lecture, lesson or event taking place on the Basque Block every Thursday in order to create a destination point for those interested in being part of the Basque community more than just once a year in July. 

First Thursday is not a new concept in downtown Boise at all. It is a well thought out program the entire downtown participates in. The Basque Block is continuing to support First Thursday with food and drink specials at the Basque Market & daily happy hour at Bardenay, late hours at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center with musicians and singers, and Amuma Says No, a Boise Basque band, entertains us later in the evening at Leku Ona.

Auzolan is working together to fill in the other Thursdays each month to give a variety of options for learning about the Basque culture. The Basque Museum & Cultural Center will be holding programs and events each of the Second Thursdays. Some of those events include book signings, cooking classes and lectures. Many of their programs will include other entities on the Block to add various topics.

Third Thursdays will take place at the Basque Center, located on the southeast corner of the Basque Block. Alumni and friends of Oinkari Basque Dancers will be teaching dances to those interested. They will begin with about 45 minutes of instruction, followed by 30-45 minutes of dancing. It is a great way to meet to new people and experience the Basque culture through music and dance.

Fourth Thursdays will be taken over by Boise State Basque Studies and will include Berbetan, a monthly discussion on a Basque topic or idea. The professors in the department will be rotating through topics as well as adding occasional movie nights to reach various audiences.

There are a few months with Fifth Thursdays, and each of those nights will be filled with events as well. All events, unless otherwise posted, are FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

For a full list of all Auzolan & Basque Block activities, check out

You can also check out any of the Basque Block entities by clicking the links below.

'Ace of Diamonds', documentary by former Basque Museum intern, premiering at Egyptian Theatre

Join us at the Egyptian for this documentary that is not to be missed, and stay for Q&A session afterwards with Memory Champion, Nelson Dellis, and filmmaker, Ana Overgaard.  Tickets are $10 through the Egyptian Box Office.  Call (208) 387-1273 or Order Online at

Filmaker, and former intern at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center, Ana Overgaard is proud to present "Ace of Diamonds".  This documentary is centered around Nelson Dellis, US Memory champion, and avid mountaineer. Dellis became interested in memory and its capabilities after tragically losing his grandmother to Alzheimer's Disease.  Soon after began his extraordinary journey of discovering the incredible mental capacities that are innate to us all.  He trained his mind using ancient memorization techniques as a preventative act, and quickly became one of the World’s most competitive mental athletes.

Nelson is also an avid mountaineer, and paired these two passions to create the non-profit, “Climb for Memory.” The foundation raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s disease, and Alzheimer’s research through his climbing expeditions and other promotions. After winning two consecutive U.S.A. Memory Championships, Nelson takes on the World Memory Championships, and Mt. Everest in the documentary, “Ace of Diamonds.” 

Boise Native, and University of Idaho graduate, Ana Overgaard spent the last two years piecing together Nelson’s captivating story. She captures these real-life events, exploring the underground world of mental competitions, and the remoteness of Mt. Everest to communicate the importance of human drive, resilience, and the memories that connect us.
The project was kick-started by funding from the Student Grant Program of the University of Idaho, and private investor, Ruth Berggren.
Nelson has been featured on TED, The Today Show, Dr. Oz, OWN, ABC NIghtline, National Geographic, and many other major media outlets.
A portion of the proceeds will go towards the Climb for Memory Foundation.
To watch a short preview of Ana's documentary, click here.

The Rise & Fall of ETA - An article by Mark Bieter

Mark Bieter, member of the Basque Museum & Cultural Center recently wrote an article about the rise and fall of ETA, a Basque separatist group.  After the October 2011 announcement, Mark thought it necessary to explain more in depth the origins of ETA (Euskadi 'ta Askatasuna - Basque Homeland & Freedom) as well as its impact on Spain and even the Basques.  Since no one had written anything, Mark decided to take it upon himself to do so.  With so many friends and relatives to whom this subject was close, he wrote "The Rise and Fall of ETA: An 'exhausted serenity' for Basques after half century of terrorism".

You can read the complete article in Boise State's Blue Review, A web-native journal covering politics, cities, the environment and the media from the Boise State University College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs.

Click here to go to the article.

Mark and his family live in Washington, DC where he works as an attorney.  He also writes a blog, which you can read by clicking here.

Henry Etcheverry - One of Idaho's Last Basque Sheep Ranchers

Henry Etcheverry, a second generation Basque sheep rancher, was interviewed by Steve Stuebner of Life on the Range.  As one of the last Basque sheep ranchers in Idaho, we is proud of his heritage and what his ranch is able to accomplish with the hard work that both he and his father, who began the business, have put into the business.

You can read the article in its entirety by clicking here.  

Below is a video of the interview, which includes a short visit with John Huarte, former Notre Dame quarterback and Heisman trophy winner, who was at the Etcheverry Ranch helping with the sheep.

Steve Stuebner is the writer and producer of Life on the Range, an educational project sponsored by the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission.

CJUH Archaeology Project



The archaeological dig has begun! 


Check the site below to see the exciting things that we find.  The page should be updated each evening.

Docents Needed!


The Basque Museum & Cultural Center is looking for Museum docents with good communication skills to lead tours for diverse groups - from elementary-school children to older adults. This is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers interested in teaching the history and lessons of the Basques and who also want to gain knowledge of one of Boise's most unique cultures.  Docents will give daily tours of the Cyrus Jacobs/Uberuaga boarding house located next to the museum on Grove Street.  Tours may also include the fronton - Basque handball court. 


Currently, our greatest needs are on Tuesdays and Saturdays during the months of July and August, but this is subject to change.  Tours are given on these days at Noon and 1:30. 

The time commitment is flexible and may include weekdays, some evenings and Sunday afternoons. No prior experience as a docent or knowledge of Basque history is required.  You also do NOT need to be Basque to become a docent!


Training includes:

• Learning about the Basques in a historical context

• Shadowing current docents on a few tours and talking with staff to get a better understanding of the process

  • Some light reading materials will be provided on some of the tour talking points

• Acquiring skills in conducting tours

• Working with interesting, committed colleagues


Please call the Museum Curator at 343-1848 for more information.