The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is a natural history museum in Seattle, Washington, in the United States. Founded in 1899, the museum is an official state museum and is located at the University of Washington campus at the intersection of NE 45th Street and 17th Avenue NE in Seattle's University District. It is the only major natural history museum in the Pacific Northwest and the state's oldest museum.
The Burke Museum's permanent collection numbers over 12 million artifacts and specimens, including totem poles, gemstones, and dinosaur fossils.
The museum houses more than 12 million artifacts and specimens in its anthropology, biology, and geology research divisions. Highlights include:
The museum states that its collection of Northwest Coast ethnographic material is the fifth largest in the World, including some 10,000 objects, among which are "the important early Swan, Eells, Emmons, and Waters collections, as well as the unmatched Blackman-Hall and Ottenberg contemporary silkscreen print collections, and the Steinman contemporary Northwest Coast sculpture collection."
The muse's Northwest Coast image research database includes "the Holm/Wright collection of images of Northwest Coast art from 200 museums and private collections (25,000 images), the Harris collection of Northwest Coast silver jewelry images (6,000 images), and de Menil photographs of Northwest Coast totem poles (1,000 images), as well as the George MacDonald Archive of historical Northwest Coast photographs."
The museum's Alaskan Arctic collection includes 6,500 pieces, including "basketry, kayaks, tools, and contemporary carvings," while the collection for Western Sub-arctic, Plateau, Plains, Great Lakes, and Southwest cultures includes "baskets, beadwork, parfleches, weavings, and pottery." The museum's Pacific Rim collections has almost 15,000 items from Asia and the Pacific, among which are "kava bowls, porcelain, dance masks, and samurai armor."
- The world's largest collection of spread bird wings (a technique that Burke pioneered)
- The world's second largest collection of frozen bird tissues for genetic research
- The fourth largest ichthyology collection this side of the Mississippi
- The fifth largest collection of Native American Art in the United States
- One of the largest collections of Northwest plants and fungi
- Over one million archaeological artifacts, including extensive collections from Washington state sites around Puget Sound and the Columbia River
- First naturalist museum west of the Mississippi River
Long-term Exhibits :
The Burke Museum currently displays three long-term exhibits: "Life and Times of Washington State," "Pacific Voices," and "Treasures of the Burke." "Life and Times of Washington State" is a natural history exhibit on the 545-million-year evolution of the Northwest region. Features of this exhibit include large-scale fossils such as an allosaurus skeleton cast and the giant ground sloth fossil found during the construction of Sea-Tac International Airport. There are also displays that explain the geologic history of the area and its influence on the terrain and climate.
"Pacific Voices" is a cultural exhibit that tells the stories or traditions of 19 different Native American and Pacific Rim cultures through art, artifacts, ceremonial objects, and audio/visual documentaries.