"I never would have had these opportunities without contributors' generous investments in the Pentacrest Museums."

Brandon Cochran knows much more about ground sloths and Iowa’s first legislators than the average person. That’s because the University of Iowa graduate gained an in-depth understanding of both these topics while majoring in anthropology and working as a student intern—and then an employee—at the UI Museum of Natural History and Old Capitol Museum.

After graduating from Iowa in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree and a certificate in museum studies, Brandon accepted a position in museum operations at the Johnson County Historical Society Museum.

He is passionate about the role of museums in both campus and community life. “The Pentacrest Museums are just incredible cultural, ecological, and historical resources. They’re such a valuable part of our Iowa identity, and they’re here for everyone—from students and schoolchildren to teachers and parents,” says the St. Marys, Iowa, native.

“These Museums offer a catch-all for people; they can come to one destination—the UI campus—and experience the best of Iowa history and culture. When people give to the Museums, they help keep that experience alive and growing.”

During his work with the Pentacrest Museums, Brandon helped the Museum of Natural History name its new Biosphere Discovery Hub and assisted in preparing Old Capitol Museum for its grand reopening in May 2006, after a November 2001 fire and subsequent renovation.

“I did everything from writing text labels for exhibits and surveying museum users to serving as a docent and adjusting Old Capitol’s historic bell,” Brandon says. “I never would have had these incredible opportunities without contributors’ generous investments in the Pentacrest Museums.”

Such generosity is what made it possible for Brandon to gain the skills he needed to find work in his field after graduation. And though he’s no longer working for the Pentacrest Museums, he continues to bring Iowa history and culture to life every day.