When you think of Idaho, what do you think of? Let me take a wild guess…. potatoes? Well, I am here to tell you that there is WAY more to the "potato" state than a brown, lumpy vegetable. Believe it or not, Boise, the capital city of Idaho, is a hub of global cultures! There are nearly 100 different cultures living throughout the state of Idaho, and Boise City is soon going to be central to telling their stories. Where is the only place big enough to keep all of those stories and experiences? A museum.
I present to you, the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora (IMID), an innovative concept proposal for a museum born from the mind of the brilliant Palina Louangketh, a former refugee herself from the country Laos. First off, I am sure you are wondering what diaspora is! Diaspora is a word with Ancient Greek roots, meaning to scatter or move about. The museum will be showcasing diaspora stories by detailing the experiences of refugees and immigrants who have resettled in Idaho, as well as the experiences of Native Americans within the state throughout United States history. The mission of the museum is to "influence positive community transformation" by detailing stories of individual experiences.
Wow, I am sure you are as excited as I am just hearing about it already! This museum will not be your standard, old objects on a wall type of place, but an interactive, high tech experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the lives and stories of diaspora groups. There is only one other museum in the world that focuses on diaspora which is found in Ireland and called the EPIC. The IMID plans to structure content based off of that museum as well and has the vision to inspire the international movement of diaspora museums.
I am incredibly excited to be interning with this museum over summer 2019 and am eager to be a part of such an incredible, wonderful opportunity. For one thing, I LOVE museums, and by love, I mean I have a strong passion for them and have been to at least 30 around the state and country. For another, I am studying to receive my bachelor's in global studies, so I have a heightened interest in global cultures. Thirdly, I am a Boise, Idaho native, and I am so excited by the opportunity to bring an international museum to this state that I love so much.
The museum is currently pursuing a 501c3 license and hopes to begin the initial build phase of the museum in 2023 according to the five-year plan that has currently been set. As I will be working with the museum in the coming months as an intern, and the coming years as a supportive citizen from Boise, you can be sure to hear more updates from me! Until then, explore stories of diaspora within your own community, and you may learn that your home is more diverse than you thought before.