2004: A Museum for the Ages
Design studios are an immersive type of class where, typically, for an entire semester, a professor mentors a small group of students through hypothetical design problems that stress process and solution. The valuable experience provides Aggies a foray into design, problem-solving and understanding real-world conditions often without the pressure of capital and clients.
In 2004, however, Texas A&M design students received a unique opportunity: a project intended for construction. The Cambodian Landmine Museum Relief Fund, a nonprofit that worked to rid Cambodia of landmines planted in the 1970s and 1980s during the country’s civil war, contacted Rogers with an exciting proposal. “They wanted plans for a complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia, consisting of a landmine museum, dormitories for child survivors of landmines and a small school,” she explained. “My sophomores spent a semester developing plans that suited the organization’s needs, but unfortunately, funding for construction was scarce.”
After hosting fun runs, holding bake sales and selling t-shirts, the students brought a model and presentation boards to the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado in hopes of securing a benefactor to fund their designs. There, they met Tom Shadyac, director of Hollywood blockbusters “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “The Nutty Professor” and “Bruce Almighty,” and sold him on their vision. Shadyac wrote a check for the entire remaining goal, and the Landmine Museum was completed in 2007. It continues to serve the community today.