Getting to Know
Brenna Cundiff is the director of the Johnson County Museum of History.
The museum is planning a history camp for children later this month.
Reporter Magen Kritsch recently asked her the following questions:
Why did you choose a career in museums?
My interest in history and a career in museums stemmed from an early obsession with dinosaurs, Indiana Jones and, of course, my parents’ influence. My mom is a librarian, and my dad is a self-professed history buff. There was really no escaping it.
What should youngsters expect at the history camp?
Our history campers have an exciting time. They get to meet a Civil War soldier, create crafts, enjoy food from different time periods and learn to play a dulcimer. This is just a sampling of their busy schedule. The camp takes a hands-on approach to learning about our past.
What is your favorite exhibit at the museum?
My favorite exhibit, at this moment, is our “Sacrifice, Dedication and Service” that opened last year. The exhibit focuses on Johnson County residents that have served our country. The exhibit is designed so that we may highlight different individuals. In this way it stays fresh as we can tell a different person’s story with each rotation. Right now we have photos and artifacts from several of our museum volunteers that served in various branches of the military. I love reading their stories and getting to see photos of them 50 or 60 years ago.
What is your dream museum to visit?
Although I have visited Washington, D.C., three times, all of my visits fell during the two-year span that the Smithsonian Museum of American History was closed. I am sure there are many exhibits that I would love to see, but I would especially like to see Dorothy’s red slippers. I grew up enjoying Judy Garland in the role and even danced solo to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Eventually, I will have to make the trip back.
What is your favorite time period in history?
I’m an ancient history nerd, so my favorite time period has always been ancient Rome. I had the opportunity to visit Pompeii a few years ago. It was an amazing experience. I was shocked at just how much has survived nearly 2,000 years since the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Who are the top three artists on your iPod?
Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and the Beatles.
What is your favorite aisle in the grocery store?
The bakery. I guess that isn’t an aisle. I am a sucker for a fresh loaf of French bread. Low-carb dieting is not an option for this girl.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
I’d guess about 20 pairs. Almost all of them are practical and comfortable flats, from boots to sandals. I am so glad that trend has stuck around a while.
How many text messages do you send in a month?
Well, I have been hitting my plan’s 200-a-month limit lately. This is one form of communication that I’ve been pulled into out of necessity. From my toddler’s day care to my in-laws, it is simply the only way to get a reply.
What is the last movie you have seen in a theater?
“Iron Man 3”
What fall activity are you most looking forward to?
Picking pumpkins. It is a family tradition to visit the farm, pick pumpkins and enjoy some hot apple cider.
Do you have any secret talents? What are they?
I used to sing soprano and even got to sing a solo in Disney World. When I was in the seventh grade, a friend of mine and I were chosen to sing “A Whole New World” during music days at Disney.
What was your favorite television show as a child?
“She-Ra: Princess of Power.” She was a much better role model than Barbie or Jem!