Cushing Terrell Joins Program to Showcase Cultural Diaspora in Idaho

The program supports University of Idaho students as they participate in design studios aimed at conceptualizing a home for the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora.

The Idaho Museum of International Diaspora (IMID) — a non-profit focused on honoring and sharing the stories of global diaspora and homecoming in Idaho — has partnered with the University of Idaho, College of Art and Architecture (CAA) and Cushing Terrell to launch a program to help conceptualize a permanent home for the IMID in Boise, Idaho.

For the fall 2020 semester, CAA students from fourth-year professional programs in architecture and interior architecture will research and explore site options and the iterative design process as part of interdisciplinary, collaborative design studios. The program will be an immersive learning experience with the integration of stakeholder narratives and identities, case study research, and documentation through journaling and video production to be shared via digital channels.

The goal of the program is not only to develop compelling conceptual designs for IMID, but to give students an opportunity to tell a story through the design journey — just as IMID will tell the stories of people from different cultures, their journeys, and of place making in Idaho.

Rula Awwad-Rafferty
Program Head and Professor of Interior Architecture and Design
University of Idaho

Also participating in the program are students from Professor Anne Marshall’s architecture class. Marshall says: “This is a phenomenal opportunity for students to design such a significant cultural facility whose  aim is to represent and serve people from throughout the world.” A professor of architecture, Marshall researches museum design and indigenous cultures.

The multi-phase design project will provide students with real-world, professional experience at the undergraduate level and will engage a variety of local, national, and international partners for input throughout the duration of the program, including Cushing Terrell, which will provide professional support for the students and design studios.

We believe this partnership provides a significant opportunity to foster equity and diversity within the education and practice of architecture and design. We’re excited to support the students in this process and contribute to an inspiring cultural and community resource in the Treasure Valley.

Jason Butler
Cushing Terrell

In February, IMID and CAA launched an initial visioning session for the program where the organizations agreed on a model and vision for the multi-purpose design with a variety of offerings and spaces. These would include a grand global gallery in the museum to host the work of artists representing the 123 countries of origin and distinct peoples who’ve made Idaho their home, an international food district, theater, international library, and botanical garden.

Working with these amazing partners, I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to progress my vision for IMID, which was inspired by my own experience as a former refugee from Laos. My goal, to explore innovative collaboration in meaningful ways to honor and celebrate diversity, has evolved into this vision of a museum founded on the principles of a welcoming community.

Palina Louangketh
Founder and Executive Director
Idaho Museum of International Diaspora

Follow IMID on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to keep up with the story of the students and design studios as they share about the program and design process to imagine a place and program for IMID, which will showcase extraordinary stories of the human journey, not only in Idaho, but from around the nation and across the globe.

About the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora

Founded in 2018 and established as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in 2019, the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora is an innovative multipurpose approach to a traditional museum model that will highlight the lives of diaspora groups from within Idaho and around the world through art, food, culture, music, literature, and the environment. Although the museum will be built in Idaho featuring Idaho diasporas, it also will capture the lives and journeys of diasporas around the world and how these stories of the human journey have enriched cultural traditions in past and current contexts.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene, and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and advancing diversity, citizenship, and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at

About Cushing Terrell

Cushing Terrell was founded in 1938  on the belief that integrating architecture, engineering, and design opens the doors for deepened relationships and enhanced creativity. This foundation continues to define the firm and its multi-disciplinary team today. Driven by empathy, the team works to design systems and spaces that help people live their best lives, achieve their visions, and enjoy healthy, sustainable built environments. With more than 375 team members and expertise across the commercial, education, government, healthcare, residential, and retail markets, the firm has offices in Colorado, Louisiana, Minneapolis, Montana, Texas, and Washington, as well as two locations in Idaho — Boise and Caldwell.