Forever True, For Iowa State

The future of history

Iowa State University has long been known for learning by doing and for connecting campus to community. But how does the land-grant mission, which runs deep at Iowa State, translate to a student majoring in history?

Ask Madisyn Rostro. A senior from small-town Iowa, Madisyn has “always loved” history and has her sights set on a museum career.

“When I visited campus, I knew Iowa State is what I wanted. The history faculty were so engaging and involved,” Madisyn says. “Once I got here, I learned Iowa State also has a very strong museum program. That was really fortunate for me.”

Thanks to Iowa State donors, the university has a distinctive complement of museums and art, including one of the largest public art collections in the nation.

“Donor support has been transformational in our ability to acquire art, mount exhibitions, conserve our collection and use it to educate students and the public,” says Lynette Pohlman, director and chief curator of University Museums.

Beautifying the campus and enhancing cultural and hands-on learning opportunities were key priorities of the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign. “We’re so grateful to donors who understand the educational role University Museums plays on campus and in extending Iowa State’s impact into the community,” Pohlman says.  

“I like helping visitors learn something at the museum that will be with them the rest of their lives,” says Madisyn, who interned with University Museums.

As the Ostendorf Farm House Museum Undergraduate Assistant, Madisyn led tours at the Farm House, curated two exhibits and completed condition reports at Brunnier Museum. When she graduates next spring, she plans to attend graduate school and someday become a museum director or curator.

“I’m a first-generation student, and without the donors who support internships and my scholarships, I wouldn’t be here,” Madisyn says. “And I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my dreams.”