A treasure hidden on a small road in Bottle Bay near Sagle, ID is the Bird Museum. When we arrived at the Travel America Plaza campground, I asked the attendants in the convenience store, “What is there near Sagle that we shouldn’t miss?” and both replied instantly, “Bird Museum”. It didn’t sound impressive. At lunch a little later, I asked the waitress the same question. When her answer was “Bird Museum” also, I decided perhaps we’d better see what we could find out on the internet.
Finally, finding the site, I began to be impressed. Dr. Forrest Bird, an inventor and aviator, and with his wife, Dr. Pamela Bird, have opened a museum worthy of being a prime tourist location. Instead, it seems to be a local secret. We saw no mention of it in the tourism publications, there are no billboards, and even when you have driven the 12 miles to find it, the sign at the road is small.
The museum is not. The main building, which also houses a small cafe, contains one large room of aircraft displays; and yet, it’s more than just planes on display. Each plane is displayed with a motor vehicle of the same vintage, and a mannequin in period clothing. Around the perimeter of the museum is a tribute to military aviation through the years.
In an adjoining room, display cases are filled with the Rothchild Patent Model Collection, prototypes of various inventions ranging from inventions created in the 1800’s to those ranging through the years to such everyday items as Scotchgard, digital thermometers, the CPU.
Upstairs, Dr. Bird’s work shines, with his medical inventions. His most notable invention was the first mass-produced medical respirator in the world. His “Babybird” respirator is credited with reducing infant mortality rate from 70% to less than 10% worldwide.
In the tiny community of Sagle, comprised of little more than a restaurant, gas station and post office, this is truly a stop that shouldn’t be missed.
For more photos of the displays CLICK HERE.