Past Exhibits

Get to know who we are based on what we’ve done

Below you’ll find some of our past exhibits over the past 10 years. To find out what’s on now and coming up next, see Current & Upcoming Exhibits.

Past Exhibits
Two girls hang labels up on a wall
Photo: Kiest Photography

You Build It

January 25 – May 15, 2016

You Build It: An Evolving Exhibit gave visitors the chance to share their thoughts and take part in an ever-changing discussion on topics that shape our local and global community—climate change, Seattle’s rapid growth, cultural identity and extinction. Topics were selected based on feedback from community listening sessions where the Burke asked individuals from diverse backgrounds what issues matter most to them and their friends and family. 

Credits
Developed by the Burke Museum

Model Angyaaq in front of the boat being constructed
Photo: Burke Museum

Maker:Market

December 5, 2015 – January 3, 2016

Maker:Market allowed visitors to witness the revival of a lost art as part of a special month-long program at the Burke Museum. From December 5-19, Burke Curator of Native American Anthropology Dr. Sven Haakanson, students and volunteers constructed an Angyaaq—a traditional Native boat made by Alaska’s Sugpiat peoples and destroyed by Russian settlers in the 1800s.

The Angyaaq assembled during the Burke’s Maker:Market is serving as a prototype for another boat being constructed by Haakanson and community members from the village of Akhiok on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Credits
Developed by the Burke Museum

Titanoboa and crocodile
Image: Copyright 2012 SNI/SI Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Titanoboa: Monster Snake

August 22, 2015 – November 15, 2015

Deep in a Colombian coal mine, scientists discovered 60-million-year-old remains of the world’s largest snake: a 48-foot, 2,500-pound predator that could devour a crocodile. Titanoboa delved into this startling discovery with a full-size replica of the giant snake, plus fossils, photos and videos that reconstruct Earth’s earliest-known rainforest and the lost world of life in the Paleocene following the demise of dinosaurs.

Credits
Titanoboa is a collaboration of the Smithsonian Institution, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Exhibit Sponsors
U.S. Bank, Seattle's Child

David Boxley bentwood box
Photo: Burke Museum

Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired

November 22, 2014 – July 27, 2015

Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired explored the dynamic relationship between the Burke Museum and Northwest Native art, artists, and scholars. Featuring work by contemporary artists whose practice has been inspired by objects in the Burke’s collections, the exhibit demonstrated how today’s artists and art historians learn from past generations.

Credits
Developed by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors
Argosy Cruises, Bekins Northwest, Boeing, Microsoft, the National Endowment for the Arts, Office of Arts & Culture Seattle, 4Culture, the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Nesholm Family Foundation, the Peach Foundation, Quest for Truth Foundation, Sealaska, Simpson Center for the Humanities, Washington State Arts Commission, Kym Aughtry, Marrella Fund, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, U.S. Bank, Port Madison Enterprises, Suquamish Tribe, KUOW

"Feast Bowl" by David A. Boxley. 

walrus tusk socket bone mug on display in museum gallery. mug is worn with porous bone holes showing on exterior.
Photo: Burke Museum

Imagine That: Surprising Stories and Amazing Objects from the Burke Museum

Apr. 12, 2014 – Oct. 26, 2014

The Burke collects a lot of things. Dust isn’t one of them. Imagine That revealed the surprising stories, complex questions, and awe-inspiring answers hidden inside objects. This exhibit showed a new side of the Burke, and uncovered some of the most fascinating, intriguing, and rare objects in its collection. Visitors joined scientists who were making daily discoveries in the exhibit, and learned how collections show us new things about the world around us every day. Hopefully guests came away having learned something about themselves. Imagine that!

Credits
Developed by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Lucky Seven Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, Quest for Truth Foundation

Salmon swimming in the Elwha river, prevented from traveling further upstream by the dam
Photo: Steve Ringman/ The Seattle Times

Elwha: A River Reborn

Nov. 23, 2013 – Mar. 9, 2014

Elwha: A River Reborn took visitors on a journey into the Northwest's legendary Elwha River Valley to discover the people, places, and history behind the world's largest dam removal project, an unprecedented bet on the power of nature.

Credits
Based on a book by Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes and photographer Steve Ringman; developed by the Burke Museum in collaboration with The Seattle Times, Mountaineers Books, and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe

Exhibit Sponsors
The Boeing Company, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Rebecca S. and Robert M. Benton Endowed Fund, Quest for Truth Foundation

Women in India sitting in a circle, looking and pointing at various papers and fabrics
Photo: Self Employed Women's Association

Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives That Transform Communities

June 12, 2013 – Oct. 27, 2013

Around the world, female artisans are creating grassroots cooperatives to reach new markets, raise living standards, and transform lives. Empowering Women provided an intimate view of 10 such enterprises in 10 countries through first-person voices, stellar photographs, and stunning examples of cooperatives' handmade traditional arts.

Credits
Organized by the Museum of International Folk Art

Exhibit Sponsors
Microsoft Corporation, 4Culture, Quest for Truth Foundation

Examples of various innovations in the use of plastic, including a Barbie doll and iPod on a wall under the header "Milestones in plastic"
Photo: Burke Museum

Plastics Unwrapped

Dec. 1, 2012 – May 27, 2013

Can you imagine life before plastics? Humans existed without them for millennia, but now, we rely on plastics to meet our basic needs. This exhibit explored how material culture has been changed by plastics, providing insight into life before plastics, how they’re made, and what happens after we throw them away.

Credits
Developed by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors
The Boeing Company, University of Washington, Cedar Grove, Snoqualmie Tribe, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Society of Plastics Engineers, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

A bird swims into a school of fish
Photo: Cristobal Serrano

2012 International Conservation Photography Awards

June 30, 2012 – Nov. 25, 2012

With 75 award-winning photographs from across the globe, this exhibit captured beautiful moments in the natural world, showcased the amazing abilities of environmental photographers, and raised awareness of conserving the world’s natural resources. The International Conservation Photography Awards is a biennial juried photography competition founded by acclaimed local nature photographer Art Wolfe.

Credits
Presented by the Burke Museum and ICP Awards

Exhibit Sponsors
4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

Two children walk in the aisle of an Indian market
Photo: Peter Menzel

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

Jan. 28, 2012 – June 10, 2012

This exhibit explored food traditions around the world through photographs of 10 families at home, at the market, and surrounded by a week’s worth of groceries. Accompanying the exhibit, Salish Bounty: Traditional Native American Foods of Puget Sound connected archaeological and historical research about tribal diets in the Puget Sound area to current efforts to revitalize Native food traditions.

Credits
Hungry Planet was organized by the Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota, and based on a book by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio. Salish Bounty was developed by the Burke Museum in collaboration with guest curators Warren King George, Muckleshoot/Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, Historian/Traditionalist; and Elizabeth M. Swanaset, Nooksack/Cowichan/Laq'a:mel Tribes, Cultural/Traditional Foods Specialist.

Exhibit Sponsors
Microsoft Corporation, PCC Natural Markets, 4Culture, Quest for Truth Foundation

Carnival masqueraders in brightly colored costumes with tall, pointed hats and white masks
Photo: Shirley and David Rowen. Image courtesy of Museum of International Folk Art

¡Carnaval!

Sept. 25, 2011 – Jan. 8, 2012

¡Carnaval! highlighted eight Carnival celebrations from communities in Europe and the Americas (including Mardi Gras), exploring the history, traditions, arts, and meaning of Carnival celebrations around the world and featuring a unique art installation of full-sized Carnival parade puppets created by local Seattle artists affiliated with Brazil Center.

Credits
Organized by the Museum of International Folk Art with support from NEH on the Road and Mid-America Arts Alliance

Exhibit Sponsors
4Culture, The Boeing Company, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, National Endowment for the Humanities, Simpson Center for the Humanities, Wells Fargo

Light grey wolf walking alone, looking to the side
Photo: Julie Lawrence Studios/Wolf Haven International

Wolves and Wild Lands in the 21st Century

June 4, 2011 – Sept. 5, 2011

Presenting a contemporary perspective on wolves in North America and featuring specimens from the Burke mammalogy collection, this exhibit explored human and wolf coexistence from a regional perspective, examining issues and experiences from the Arctic to the American Southwest.

Credits
Developed by the International Wolf Center in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota and toured by the Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota

Exhibit Sponsors
Tom and Sonya Campion, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Kongsgaard-Goldman Foundation, Norcliffe Foundation, Quest for Truth Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A female Pileated Woodpecker darts from her tree cavity after feeding her young.
Photo: Paul Bannick

The Owl and the Woodpecker

Mar. 19, 2011 – Aug. 7, 2011

Featuring the work of Seattle photographer and author Paul Bannick, The Owl and the Woodpecker introduced museum visitors to the most important species of owls and woodpeckers in North America. Through photographs, specimens from the Burke ornithology collection and an interactive education space, the exhibit highlighted the critical importance of conservation.

Credits
Developed by the Burke Museum with Paul Bannick and Braided River, a partner of The Mountaineers Books

Exhibit Sponsor
Microsoft Corporation

Heavily decorated black jacket with red, gold, blue, and floral patterns and details
Photo: Burke Museum

Weaving Heritage: Textile Masterpieces from the Burke Collection

Oct. 2, 2010 – Feb. 27, 2011

In the Burke Museum’s first major exhibition of its international textile collection, masterpieces from the peoples of the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands were displayed.

Credits
Organized by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors
4Culture, The Boeing Company, Quest for Truth Foundation, University of Washington Southeast Asia Center at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

Beluga whale with an open mouth
Photo: Franco Banfi

2010 International Conservation Photography Awards

June 19, 2010 – Sept. 6, 2010

Winning photographs, representing the best of conservation photography from around the world, were featured in this exhibit. The International Conservation Photography Awards is a biennial juried photography competition founded by acclaimed local nature photographer Art Wolfe.

Credits
Presented by the Burke Museum and ICP Awards

Exhibit Sponsors
Microsoft Corporation, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

Illustration of a dinosaur crossing a road at night, from the point of view of a passenger in a car
Illustration: Ray Troll

Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway

Dec. 19, 2009 – May 31, 2010

This premiere of a nationally touring exhibit took visitors on a "road trip" through the American West to learn about our region’s intriguing fossils and the stories they tell about the past. Bringing together the best of the Burke Museum's fossil collection and the fossil-inspired artwork of celebrated artist Ray Troll, the exhibit explored questions about evolution, extinction and early life on Earth.

Credits
Organized by the Burke Museum in collaboration with Ray Troll and Kirk Johnson

Exhibit Sponsors
Microsoft Corporation, Pendleton and Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation, Wells Fargo

Ice in Crystal Sound
Photo: Joan Myers

Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey

Oct. 3, 2009 – Nov. 29, 2009

Featuring the photography of Joan Myers, real Antarctic camp equipment, fossils and research findings from scientists at the University of Washington, this exhibit offered a glimpse at the life of researchers who work on the world's most hostile continent.

Credits
Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

Exhibit Sponsors
Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Community Grant Program funded by MetLife Foundation

Artwork and labels in the gallery
Photo: Burke Museum

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: Indigenous Voices Reply

May 30, 2009 – Nov. 29, 2009

This exhibit juxtaposed historic objects and photographs from the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition with contemporary artwork by 16 Native artists, exploring how the representation and understanding of indigenous people and cultures has changed over 100 years.

Credits
Organized by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors
4Culture, Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, John and Joyce Price, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, University of Washington Office of the Provost

Coffee beans and machines
Photo: Andrew Waits

Coffee: The World in Your Cup

Jan. 24, 2009 – Sept. 7, 2009

This exhibit explored the fascinating world behind the coffee we drink. Through photographs, coffee plants, tastings and demonstrations, the exhibit provided a broad overview of the powerful influence of coffee on environments, human cultures and economies worldwide.

Credits
Organized by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors
The Boeing Company, Microsoft Corporation, Starbucks Coffee Company, University of Washington

Two women look at a photograph in the Arctic Wings exhibit
Photo: Burke Museum

Arctic Wings: Miracle of Migration

Sept. 13, 2008 – Dec. 31, 2008

Arctic Wings showcased the work of award-winning photographers whose images capture the global bird biodiversity abundantly represented in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ecosystem.

Credits
Organized by the Burke Museum and Braided River, a branch of The Mountaineers Books

Exhibit Sponsors
Tom and Sonya Campion, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Peach Foundation

A polar bear lays on top of a whale jaw bone
Photo: Steven Kazlowski

The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World

June 27, 2008 – Dec. 31, 2008

A nationally touring environmental exhibit, The Last Polar Bear emphasized the urgency of global warming’s impact on the Arctic through over 40 images of polar bears by photographer Steven Kazlowski.

Credits
Organized by the Burke Museum and Braided River, a branch of The Mountaineers Books

Exhibit Sponsors
Tom and Sonya Campion, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Peach Foundation

Detail of beaded leather gloves with a floral design on a pink background
Photo: Jack Storms PhotoGraphic

Peoples of the Plateau: The Indian Photographs of Lee Moorhouse, 1898-1915

Jan. 26, 2008 – June 8, 2008

Providing a visual record of Native American life in the interior Northwest as it transitioned from frontier life to the modern era, this exhibit featured the photography of Lee Moorhouse and was accompanied by This Place Called Home, which included Plateau materials from the Burke’s collection and interviews with tribal elders discussing the photographs and objects.

Credits
Peoples of the Plateau was organized by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. This Place Called Home was organized by the Burke Museum and guest curated by Miles R. Miller of the Yakama and Nez Perce tribes.

Exhibit Sponsors
4Culture, Nesholm Family Foundation, Quest for Truth Foundation, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

Jars with specimens in them sit on a blue table
Photo: Burke Museum

In Search of Giant Squid

Sept. 22, 2007 – Dec. 31, 2007

This exhibit examined the myths and legends that surround the giant squid. Visitors could see a rare giant squid beak and suckers, learn about scientific research, check out nautilus fossils and ammonites from the Burke’s collection, and more!

Credits
Developed by the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

Exhibit Sponsors
The Boeing Company, Ivar’s Salmon House, Microsoft Corporation, U.S. Bancorp Foundation

Two women look at photographs in the Yellowstone to Yukon exhibit
Photo: Burke Museum

Yellowstone to Yukon: Freedom to Roam

June 16, 2007 – Dec. 31, 2007

Documenting an ambitious effort to preserve wildlife corridors from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to Canada's Yukon Territories, this exhibit featured over 70 photographs by Florian Shulz.

Credits
Created by the Burke Museum in collaboration with The Mountaineers Books and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Exhibit Sponsors
Tom and Sonya Campion, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Peach Foundation

"Stakiya - Wolf" by Manual Salazar
Photo: Manual Salazar

In the Spirit of the Ancestors

Mar. 2, 2007 – Sept. 3, 2007

This exhibit presented the first comprehensive exhibition of contemporary Northwest Coast Native American art from the Burke’s collections. Accompanying the exhibit, Our People, Our Land, Our Images featured contemporary images from Indigenous photographers from throughout the US, Canada, Peru and New Zealand.

Credits
In the Spirit of the Ancestors was developed by the Burke Museum. Our People, Our Land, Our Images was developed by the CN Gorman Museum, UC Davis.

Exhibit Sponsors
National Endowment for the Arts, Quest for Truth Foundation, Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund

Shepherd standing in front of yurt
Photo: From the Frederick Wulsin Photographic Collection, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

Vanished Kingdoms: The Wulsin Photographs of Tibet, China & Mongolia, 1921-1925

Nov. 4, 2006 – Feb. 4, 2007

This exhibit featured rare early color photographs taken by Frederick and Janet Wulsin, and was accompanied by Sacred Portraits from Tibet, a display of thangkas (large, delicately painted Tibetan religious painting) and a traditional Tibetan Buddhist altar by local artist Dhawa Dhondup Ngoche.

Credits
Vanished Kingdoms was produced by the Peabody Essex Museum. Sacred Portraits from Tibet was developed by the Burke Museum.

Exhibit Sponsor
The Blakemore Foundation

Yawning fox
Photo: Bence Máté

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

June 24, 2006 – Sept. 4, 2006

Based on the annual photography competition, this exhibit featured nearly 100 prize-winning images in a broad range of wildlife categories in an effort to celebrate the diversity of wildlife, the beauty of nature, and the art and legacy of wildlife photography

Credits
Organized by BBC Wildlife Magazine, The Natural History Museum, London

Exhibit Sponsors
The Boeing Company, 4Culture, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Nesholm Family Foundation, U.S. Bank

Toi Maori exhibit in the gallery space
Photo: Burke Museum

Toi Maori: The Eternal Thread

Feb. 4, 2006 – May 29, 2006

This exhibit highlighted the contemporary and traditional work of Maori weavers of New Zealand and was accompanied by a selection of Northwest Coast robes from the Burke’s collection.

Credits
Organized by the Pataka Museum of Arts and Culture

Exhibit Sponsors
Air New Zealand; New Zealand Consulate-General, Los Angeles; the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; Port Blakely Tree Farms, LP, and Blakely Pacific, Ltd.; John and Joyce Price; Quest for Truth Foundation; Tulalip Tribes

Glass spindle whorl by Susan Point
Photo: Susan A. Point.

Fusing Traditions: Transformations in Glass by Native American Artists

Oct. 1, 2005 – Dec. 31, 2005

Showcasing contemporary glass by 18 Native American artists, this exhibit provided insight into ways Native artists draw upon their rich heritage while forging new statements in art to reflect contemporary sensibilities.

Credits
Organized by the Museum of Craft & Folk Art

Exhibit Sponsors
The Boeing Company, Microsoft Corporation, Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, City of Seattle, John and Joyce Price, Quest for Truth Foundation, Preston Singletary, Tillicum Foundation

Snow geese flying over Arctic lands
Photo: Subhankar Banerjee

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land

June 23, 2005 – Dec. 31, 2005

Featuring the work of renowned photographer Subhankar Banerjee, this exhibit included 49 photographs of the landscapes, wildlife and people of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and was accompanied by Life Abounds: Arctic Native Wildlife Art, featuring prints, carvings and masks from the Burke’s Native American art collection.

Credits
Seasons of Life and Land was designed and produced by the California Academy of Sciences. Life Abounds was developed by the Burke Museum.

Exhibit Sponsors
The Boeing Company, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Lucky Seven Foundation, Microsoft Corporation 

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