Approval to break ground on the New Burke

February 12, 2016
Burke Museum

We are thrilled to announce that the University of Washington’s Board of Regents formally approved our plans to break ground on the New Burke. We could not have reached this important milestone without the support and enthusiasm of our donors and community!

Since it was designated the State Museum of Natural History and Culture in 1899, the Burke has been managed by the University of Washington. Receiving the Board of Regents’ approval of our project schedule and budget sets the wheels in motion for us to begin construction this spring so that we can open the new museum in 2019. 

Watercolor rendering of the New Burke exterior view looking west.

Watercolor rendering of the New Burke exterior view looking west.

Illustration: Olson Kundig | Stephanie Bower Architectural Illustration

New Burke project overview

  • Construction fencing will go up around most of the parking lot next to the Burke in early May 2016 as site prep begins.
  • We will host a groundbreaking celebration on May 18, 2016, to kick off the two-year construction of the New Burke facility.
  • Once the new building is complete, we will install exhibits and then carefully move the Burke’s 16 million objects into their new home.
  • The New Burke will open to the public in 2019.

The Burke will remain open to visitors in our current facility during this time, with our exhibits, public programs and exceptional educational offerings continuing to showcase our natural and cultural history.

Similar to the “inside-out” vision for the New Burke experience, the community will be able to watch the construction process unfold in front of its eyes. There will be a special viewing platform overlooking the construction site, and time-lapse video cameras will offer a birds-eye view of the New Burke construction progress.

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