Bill began working for the Shedd Aquarium by going on fish collecting trips in 1950. He was later hired as a ‘tank’ man taking daily care of the fish. After serving in the Korean War, at the urging of the current director, Walter Chute, Bill came back to work for the Aquarium as assistant curator.
The intention was to groom Bill to take over the running of the Aquarium. In 1964 he became director. For 43 years Director Braker worked to bring the Aquarium to world class status with updated exhibits, expanded professional staff, a strong educational center, developing volunteer programs, and in 1991 introducing the oceanarium – one of many unique and successful exhibits. Working with staff and board members, he conceived and planned this total-environment exhibit as a dramatic re-creation of the Pacific Northwest coastline, home to beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, harbor seals and sea otters. Director Braker retired in 1993.