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Special Exhibits

Titanoboa: Monster Snake

Aug. 22, 2015 – Nov. 15, 2015

From a Colombian coal mine, scientists have discovered 60 million year old remains of the largest snake in the World, Titanoboa cerrejonensis. Measuring 48 feet long and weighing up to 2,500 pounds, this massive predator could crush and devour a crocodile. Delve into the discovery, reconstruction and implications of this enormous reptile.


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

Erna Gunther Ethnobotanical Garden


With more than 100 species of plant life from both sides of the Cascades, the garden features plants important to Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.

Location: East side of the Burke Museum, near the front entrance

Life and Times of Washington State


Over 500 million years of geological history! Lethal lava, grinding glaciers, and rampaging reptiles—marvel at the natural forces that shaped Washington's landscape, and at the amazing animals that once lived here...

Pacific Voices


Over 17 different cultures represented. Immerse yourself in the lives of native peoples from around the Pacific; learn about their arts, ceremonies and personal stories.

Upcoming Exhibits

You Build It: An Evolving Exhibit

Jan. 25, 2016 – May 15, 2016

Create, collaborate, innovate. Help the Burke build a “living exhibit” by telling us about the people, places, ideas and objects that shape your life. Displays will change and grow as visitors share their opinions and experiences through hands-on activities and art.

Wild Nearby

June 18, 2016 – Nov. 27, 2016

Discover the sights, sounds, smells and stories of the North Cascades. Through immersive, multi-sensory experiences, visitors will be transported to the lowland valleys, dense forests and mountain peaks of this remarkable ecosystem—one of the most intact wild lands in the U.S.—located just a few hours from Seattle.