Burke Museum Home

Current Exhibits

In addition to long-term exhibits, the Burke Museum also presents special exhibits that rotate several times a year. From conservation photography, to recent discoveries in natural history, to the finest traditional and contemporary cultural arts, Burke exhibits invite all visitors to examine the critical issues of our time.

Special Exhibits


Washington’s First Dinosaur

May 20, 2015 –

Brace yourselves, dino-lovers: Burke Museum paleontologists have discovered the first dinosaur fossil ever found in Washington state!

The 80-million-year-old fossil is a partial left femur bone of a theropod dinosaur, the group of two-legged, meat-eating dinosaurs that includes Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus rex and modern birds. It was collected by Burke Museum paleontologists along the shores of Sucia Island State Park in the San Juan Islands in May 2012 in an incredible instance of the right people being in the right place at the right time.

As the Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture, we’re so excited to display Washington’s first dinosaur fossil in our lobby and share it with you!

Location: Burke Lobby

Why Study Evolution?

Mar. 19, 2012 –

A new display at the end of the Life and Times exhibit highlights Burke Herbarium curator Dick Olmstead’s research on the diversity of plants in the verbena family within the broader context of evolution. It is the first in a series of displays planned over the next few years to spotlight NSF-funded research of Burke curators who are tackling ongoing questions about the evolutionary processes that give rise to biodiversity. The centerpiece of the introductory section is a “Tree of Life” that illuminates Charles Darwin’s metaphor for how all living things are related. Reconstructing the Tree of Life is a goal of evolutional biology and a starting point for understanding the processes that give rise to biodiversity.

Location: Life and Times of Washington State exhibit

Long-term Exhibits