Cathy Morris/Burke Museum

See through the walls of the museum and discover all that's been hiding behind them with a sneak peek inside the New Burke.

Coming October 12, 2019.

What if you could see hometown pride through the Northwest traditions that inspired it?

The oldest museum in Washington and the State Museum since 1899, the Burke is a place for everyone in the Northwest.

For 130 years, the Museum has collected objects that help us understand how the Northwest has grown and changed. We care for and share them to ensure they will be a public resource for generations. Regardless of who you are or where you come from—whether your family just got here or has called this land home for millennia—this is your museum.

Cathy Morris/Burke Museum

What if you could see the spirit come alive through the objects of living traditions?

Objects are powerful touchstones. They teach us about the past, generate knowledge and play an integral part in living culture.

For too long, the Burke collections have been hidden away, severely compressed in spaces that lack the environmental controls needed to properly care for them. It’s time to change that, and remove the barriers that separate too many people from these invaluable objects—the inspiration they spark and the insights they hold.

Cathy Morris/Burke Museum

What if you could see the history of the ocean through a fish bone the size of a pebble?

The Burke’s collections enable groundbreaking research and advance conversations that matter to us all today.

The Museum’s curators—faculty members at the University of Washington—grow collections in the anticipation of change: continued disruption to ecosystems, shifting cultural landscapes and advances in technology we have yet to imagine. Students, scientists, artists and community members draw on the collections to build knowledge of our world—and address challenges facing communities in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe.

Cathy Morris/Burke Museum

What if you could see how dinosaurs lived through the birds in your backyard?

The New Burke will help us understand how the world has changed—and how to effect positive change in the future.

Every day, we learn new things about this place we call home. The New Burke will inspire understanding, wonder and pride about the Northwest—and prompt decisions that protect the future of the people and environments that make this a wonderful place to live.

Cathy Morris/Burke Museum

"Our goal is to reflect the Salish heritage of the region and the importance of the Burke Museum as a hub for citizens to learn about the natural and cultural history of the Northwest. The colorful glass and metal sculpture will be enlivened by light and shadow. By night, the piece metamorphoses into a glowing jewel, lit from within."

Artist team for "The Weaver's Welcome"
Brian Perry (Port Gamble S’Klallam), Anthony Jones (Port Gamble S'Klallam), Preston Singletary (Tlingit), and David Franklin

Burke Museum Executive Director Julie K. Stein reveals plans for the grand lobby

The two-story lobby features 35-foot-high windows and a grand staircase. Just 1 1/2 blocks from the future U District lightrail station, it will be a beacon to visitors and passersby, providing a window and an invitation to the Burke and the UW campus.

Curator Julie Stein

Julie K. Stein

Burke Museum Executive Director

UW Professor of Anthropology

When you arrive at the New Burke, a soaring lobby will beckon you with icons of Washington’s natural and cultural heritage.

You will be welcomed in the Coast Salish style by a monumental piece of contemporary Native art commissioned especially for the New Burke. Sit for a moment at the feet of a mastodon, then pass beneath a beaked whale diving from the ceiling as you begin your journey through the museum.

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This Baird's beaked whale washed ashore in Westport in 2015; the skeleton was salvaged by Burke scientists.

The design for "The Weaver's Welcome" was partly inspired by boxes and baskets in the Burke collection.

Donors to the Burke Herd campaign will receive recognition on a raven, whale or triceratops tile in this special art installation.

This cast of a mastodon skeleton was displayed for many years in Fox's jewelry
store in downtown Seattle before coming to the Burke.

All we need is you

Gifts from the community are the heart of the New Burke project: more than one third of the new museum will be funded by individuals like you. Your gift today will help build the exhibits in the New Burke and bring the "See Through the Burke" experience to life.

"Studying these pieces is an extension of our apprenticeship with our ancestors."

Evelyn Vanderhoop, Haida artist & Burke Museum Visiting Researcher

Dr. Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse previews the Northwest Native Art gallery

The Northwest Native Art gallery will feature rotating shows of contemporary and historic Native art. It will draw connections between cultural objects in the Burke collections—many of which will be visible through a window into the new, state-of-the-art storage space—and the work of contemporary Native artists, some of whom will create pieces in the workshop adjacent to the gallery.

Curator Dr. Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse

Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse

Curator of Northwest Native Art

UW Assistant Professor of Art History

Delve in to the dynamic relationship between collections and creativity, and artists and their ancestors.

Featuring current works inspired by 200 years of history, the opening exhibit in the Northwest Native Art Gallery will showcase the Burke’s iconic collection—one of the largest in the U.S.—and share the rich dynamism of contemporary Northwest Native art. Six Native artists will co-curate the gallery, creating new pieces to be displayed with historic and modern objects that illustrate their cultural and artistic heritage, connecting past to the present through the living traditions of design, symbolism and technique.

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Rotating exhibits will feature historic and contemporary Native art.

Contemporary artists and students will create new works in the Artists' Workshop.

This pole by Tsimshian artist David A. Boxley features figures representing bears, wolves and eagles. The second-floor balcony will offer close-up views of the top eagle figure.

All we need is you

Gifts from the community are the heart of the New Burke project: more than one third of the new museum will be funded by individuals like you. Your gift today will help build the exhibits in the New Burke and bring the "See Through the Burke" experience to life.

"I truly believe these activities are cementing her love of science and nourishing her wish to make it a part of her life's work."

Alicia G., parent of a 6th grade "Girls in Science" program participant

Dr. Sharlene Santana previews visible labs and hands-on learning spaces in the New Burke

Visitors to the new Burke will be able to see into 12 different labs and workrooms where activities, from preparing specimens to vacuuming baskets, change all the time. In the new Learning Lab, students and adults will be engaged in hands-on science, while new education spaces will immerse young children and families in the day-to-day discoveries of a working research museum.

Curator Dr. Sharlene Santana

Sharlene Santana

Curator of Mammals

UW Associate Professor of Biology

The New Burke will turn the idea of a museum inside out.

In a dramatic departure from the typical natural history museum model—where exhibits are on one side of the wall and collections and research are on the other—galleries will be side-by-side with visible collections, hands-on learning spaces for students and families, and labs where you can seek new understandings alongside the staff and researchers who explore the collections. In the New Burke, you can encounter, experience and discover something different with every visit—and see the life before you with new eyes.

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More education space will allow the Burke to potentially double the number of Pre-K–12 students served each year.

State-of-the-art labs will serve more undergraduate and graduate students and visiting researchers.

A community Learning Lab in the New Burke will allow members of the public to engage in learning and research alongside Burke experts.

Families can dig in to hands-on activities on the weekends.

All we need is you

Gifts from the community are the heart of the New Burke project: more than one third of the new museum will be funded by individuals like you. Your gift today will help build the exhibits in the New Burke and bring the "See Through the Burke" experience to life.

"The Burke's commitment to turning the museum 'inside-out' is truly singular; no other museum has pursued such a bold vision."

Mimi Gardner Gates, Founding Director, Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas

Dr. Christian Sidor previews the Paleontology gallery, labs and collections

20-foot-high windows fill the Paleontology gallery with light, and create a feeling of floating in a canopy of trees. Approaching the New Burke from the north, passersby will see glimpses of a towering mammoth and dinosaurs through the windows above; from the lobby on the first floor, an elasmosaur peeking down the stairs from two stories above will beckon visitors to the top of the New Burke.

Curator Dr. Christian Sidor

Christian Sidor

Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology

UW Professor of Biology

You may not know it to look at them, but your average chicken is related to a T. rex.

We know birds are living dinosaurs thanks to paleontologists like the ones who work at the Burke. On the third floor of the New Burke, nestled among the tree tops, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the neighborhood, see new discoveries as they happen in paleontology labs, and dig in to the Northwest’s deep past, the powerful geologic forces that shaped our region, and the plants and animals that populated the world millions of years ago.

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The "Tufts-Love" T. rex skull—only the 15th ever discovered in the world—will be displayed in the New Burke.

This Columbian mammoth will feature a combination of 3D printed bones and real bones discovered near Richland, WA.

Visitors will see paleontology research in the workroom next to the gallery, with occasional opportunities to meet scientists and talk to them about their work.

250 million-year-old fossils from Antarctica show what life was like long before the dinosaurs.

This 27 million-year-old whale (Sitsqwayk cornishorum) was discovered on the Olympic Peninsula and is an early ancestor of baleen whales. Sitsqwayk is a Klallam word for powerful spirit in the water.

All we need is you

Gifts from the community are the heart of the New Burke project: more than one third of the new museum will be funded by individuals like you. Your gift today will help build the exhibits in the New Burke and bring the "See Through the Burke" experience to life.