Burke Museum Home

Past Summer Children’s Programs

Get a real behind-the-scenes museum experience for a week! At our week-long, full-day camps, students have fun and learn from scientists, incredible collections of artifacts and specimens, and a great team of educators.

Summer program descriptions and accounts from years past. For more information on the summer camp program contact burked@u.washington.edu.


Story Read-Alouds ~ For preschoolers

Bring your family for a new story every week! Designed for preschoolers but all ages are welcome. No registration necessary.

Middle School Students

Photographing Nature ~ For students entering grades 6 - 8

The 2012 International Conservation Photography Awards exhibit will be our inspiration as we explore Burke collections and the surrounding UW campus. Find nature in the most unusual places and develop your attention to detail, color, lighting, and photo composition. Practice makes perfect, so bring a digital camera you are familiar with or borrow one of ours.  

Archaeology Camp: One Day Program for students entering grades 4 - 6

As a junior archaeologist you will learn about Washington State archaeology by investigating real-life artifacts from the museum collections and practicing archaeological skills in a day packed with hands-on fun!

The Last Polar Bear ~ For students entering 7th – 9th grades

The polar bear — a charismatic icon in the struggle against climate change — faces a precarious future. The photography exhibit, The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World, gave students a unique opportunity to explore questions related to climate change, ecosystems, habitat loss, and conservation. Students met the photographer, Steven Kazlowski, and UW climate scientists, and worked on their own photography project. (Offered 2008 only).

Girls in Science ~ For girls entering 7th – 9th grades

Girls in Science offers a special opportunity for girls to practice hands-on science with real UW scientists. Discover paleontology, genetics, meteorology, and more in this girls-only camp! Visit labs and scientists at the Burke Museum and on the UW campus. Explore what it takes to be a scientist, perform real scientific procedures yourself, and learn about discoveries that scientists are making today that will affect our lives in the future. Click here to read a Seattle Times article about this camp.

Investigating DNA ~ For students entering 7th – 9th grades

Make a model of DNA out of licorice and gumdrops. Extract DNA from foods commonly found in your kitchen. Learn the basics of DNA and how it is used to explore conservation issues around the world. In this one-week intensive (and fun) hands-on class, students will use UW labs and Burke collection specimens to examine DNA and begin to understand genetics. 

High School Students

Climate Quest ~ For students entering 10th – 12th grades

Climate Quest is a 7-day intensive course that combines climate science and video production. Students will learn about the basic science of climate, the impact of climate change on the Pacific Northwest and beyond, and efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change. Students will produce videos that creatively interpret climate change in the Puget Sound region in 2050 to communicate what they've learned to thier peers and others. The course will incorporate active learning projects, discussions with guests from the UW climate faculty and the Seattle business and government communites, and the opportunity to witness climate change first-hand in the field. One college credit is available for this camp through UW Extension.

Elementary Students

Dr. Mossbreath’s Mystery ~ For students entering 4th – 6th grades

For the past four summers, the mysterious Dr. Mossbreath has presented us with a challenge that sends us behind-the-scenes through the museum's amazing collections. If you accept the challenge, you will spend the week as a Junior Naturalist, following maps, peering through microscopes, and discovering clues inside and outside the museum to solve an exciting mystery!

Dinos! ~ For students entering 2nd or 3rd grades

Do you love dinosaurs? Are you ready to be a Junior Paleontologist? Join the Burke Museum to explore the time of dinosaurs and what is was like when the giant reptiles roamed the Earth. In this hands-on camp you will touch real fossils, search for Jurassic plants, make your own fossil cast, and much more! 

Little Dinos! ~ For students entering Kindergarten or 1st grade

Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, T. rex, oh, my! Hold a real dinosaur tooth! Practice being a paleontologist with a real fossil-hunter. See how big dinosaurs really were, make your own fossil cast, and more. Spend a week with dinosaurs this summer!

Stories and Tellers

Once upon a time, a group of young storytellers came together to practice the many arts of sharing stories.