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Mountain Patterns

The Burke Ethnology collection includes over 500 objects made and used by the Nuosu people, a branch of the Yi nationality living in China's Liangshan, or Cool Mountains.

Out of the Silence: Enduring Power of Totem Poles

Whales, bears, and ravens are interwoven with the haunting photographs of Adelaide de Menil and vibrant images of pole-raising ceremonies. A retrospective view of Northwest Coast native totem pole traditions—from the earliest drawings of totem poles, through the time of seeming silence in the mid-1900s, to the vitality of First Nations cultures today. 

Entwined with Life: Native American Basketry

From ancient times, Native American basket weavers have transformed roots, bark, ferns, and grasses into baskets unsurpassed for their aesthetic appeal. These works of art and the people who have designed and woven the baskets were at the heart of this exhibit.

Poking Fun at Death: Day of the Dead

The Latino Day of the Dead festival combines ancient Aztec and Mayan beliefs with European Christianity. Toys, masks, t-shirts, shopping bags, and greeting cards are all aspects of the playful, teasing, and joyful attitude that is taken towards death.

Chinese Door Gods: Changing New Year Tradition

Decorative New Year pictures are put up each year in Chinese homes during the Lunar New Year—a time when families gather to honor their ancestors, eat special foods, and celebrate the coming of Spring.

Northwest Coast Images: Social and Environmental Issues

Prints with a political bent by Northwest Coast Native artists, from the Simon Ottenberg Collection, Burke Museum.

Natural History of Mammals in North American Art

Featuring prints of mammals and mammal behavior by Northwest Coast and Canadian Woodlands Native artists. 

Life Abounds: Arctic Native Wildlife Art

A selection of traditional and contemporary Arctic animals from the museum's renowned Native American art collection and from the Inuit art collection of John and Joyce Price. 

Northwest Coast Robes: Companion Exhibit to Eternal Thread

As a complement to The Eternal Thread, the Burke exhibited a small selection of exquisite robes from its internationally renowned Northwest Coast art collection.

This Place Called Home

An exhibit of Plateau native cultural arts, brought out the best of the Burke's own eastern Washington collections, including beadwork, cradle boards, baskets, blankets, and more 

Money: A Medium of Culture

From coins to corn and feathers to stone...money comes in many forms.  This exhibit included early money from Asia, China, and the Mediterranean: coins in bronze, gold, silver and electrum, including a rare Tetadrachm Athena's Owl. Also, American paper money in the form of milled dollars, schillings, bond notes, treasury notes, and early American coins.

Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times

This was one one of the few museum exhibits to examine the tumultuous Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which shook China from 1966 to 1976.

Sacred Portraits from Tibet

This display of thangkas – large, delicately painted Tibetan religious paintings — augmented the photographs of Vanished Kingdoms.

Reverent Remembrance: Honoring the Dead

This exhibit explored the ancient Celtic roots of Halloween, the colorful Mexican Day of the Dead, mummification and other death rituals in ancient Egypt, Indonesian cliff burials, and modern American memorials, including those following the 9/11 tragedy. 

In the Spirit of the Ancestors

The Burke Museum presented the first comprehensive exhibition of more than 2,400 contemporary Northwest Coast Native American art from the Burke's own collections.

A-Y-P: Indigenous Voices Reply

This exhibit  juxtaposed historic objects and photographs from the 1909 fair with contemporary artwork by 16 Native artists. 

Weaving Heritage: Textile Masterpieces from the Burke Collection

The first major exhibition of the museum's international textile collection, features textile masterpieces from the peoples of the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.