Legislators along with Tribal representatives, Burke Museum staff and board members, and the “Dragonfly” class from University Temple Children’s School did the ceremonial first dig for the New Burke Museum on May 18, 2016. Photo: Burke Museum.
The Burke is Washington’s oldest museum and the State Museum of Natural History and Culture since 1899
Over 500 people gathered on Wednesday, May 18, on the University of Washington campus to celebrate starting construction on the New Burke Museum. The Burke is Washington’s oldest museum and the State Museum of Natural History and Culture since 1899; soon it will be Washington’s newest museum.
Opening in 2019, the New Burke will address significant structural issues that currently threaten the long-term viability of our state’s natural and cultural heritage collections—a total of more than 16 million objects. The new, 113,000 sq. ft. building located on the University of Washington Seattle campus will be 66% larger than the current building. State-of-the-art labs will serve more students, researchers and artists. More education space will allow the Burke to potentially double the number of Pre-K–12 students served each year.
“The new facility with allow us to take science and cultural education to the next level by connecting students with the scientists and researchers at the Burke—role models who will inspire the next generation,” said Frank Chopp, Washington State Speaker of the House (43rd LD). “Washington is a state of innovation and curiosity. It is only right that our state museum helps foster that in our young learners and in all of us.”
The New Burke will have an innovative “inside-out” design, integrating exhibits and learning areas with visible labs and collections storage throughout the museum, inviting everyone to uncover the depth and breadth of the museum’s collections and experience the thrill of daily discoveries generated at the Burke. “The University of Washington and Burke Museum were incredibly important to me during my student life, and the Burke was a place for me to engage with and connect to our rich local history and tradition of innovation. It is a deep privilege for me to be part of this project,” said Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig, the Seattle-based, internationally renowned architecture firm for the New Burke Museum.
At the groundbreaking event, Washington educators, elected officials, tribal members and University of Washington leaders spoke about the impact of the New Burke. Students from the University Temple Children’s School—located across the street from the site of the New Burke—joined project donors and officials for the ceremonial groundbreaking. The group used shovels, pick axes and other field tools used by Burke archaeologists and paleontologists for the “dig.” In the spirit of excavation, fossils from across Washington were displayed during the event.
University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce congratulated the Burke on reaching this important milestone and thanked supporters of the project, adding, “We are very excited to break ground and look forward to working together with the community and the State Legislature to get the project finished.”
The budget for the New Burke project is $99 million, which includes design and construction of the new building, exhibits, moving costs, an operating endowment, and landscaping for the new facility. To-date, $67 million in public and private support has been raised. The Burke will continue to raise private funds and will request $24.2 million from the State of Washington in 2017.
“The Burke is the State Natural History Museum. It’s the oldest state museum and we have an obligation, I believe, to create a new facility to protect our natural heritage,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford (15th LD).
“The Legislature worked closely with the UW to make this day happen and we are working together to get this project done.” said Rep. Steve Tharinger (24th LD).
Plans for the New Burke were developed over many years, in consultation with museum experts and members of the communities the Burke Museum serves.
“As we move forward, let’s remember all of the relationships and good work that happened here in the current building, and have that be the foundation of what happens in the new museum,” said Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe.
In the coming years, the Burke will continue to consult with diverse community groups about the exhibits and education programs being developed for the New Burke. “The New Burke will be about the connections between people, and the authentic care and love which helps communities to preserve, grow and share their stories. The Hmong community and many others will be able to grow our knowledge and continue our historical legacies here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Zer Vue, Nationally Board Certified Educator and Board Commissioner, Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.
Construction is expected to last 18 months, and will be followed by moving collections and installing exhibits. The current Burke Museum will be torn down after the New Burke opens, with goodbye celebrations taking place in the current building in early 2019. Special exhibits, events and educational programs will continue in the current Burke throughout construction.
“I am thrilled to celebrate a major moment for the New Burke: breaking ground on the new, flagship museum of natural history and culture for Washington state,” said Julie K. Stein, Burke Museum Executive Director. “This project is a true partnership, and today is an opportunity for us to recognize the hard work and contributions of everyone who helped us reach this milestone. Together, we will bring the New Burke to life for everyone.”
About the New Burke:
The New Burke will be sited along 15th Ave. NE between NE 43rd St. and NE 45th St. The new building will be located 1.5 blocks from the future U District light rail station—which is expected to serve 18,000 riders per day. As a new tourist and leisure attraction, the New Burke will support efforts to revitalize the U District.
Construction of the New Burke Museum begins May 2016, managed by the University of Washington and led by general contractor/construction manager Skanska. The project is on track for LEED Gold status as a high-performance green building.
The New Burke will open to the public in 2019. More information available at newburke.org.
High resolution images are available at this Dropbox folder: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/n3nf9aljvhjk20r/AACvyCKBVNCWvwFlxe9VY5Q0a?dl=0
New Burke Leadership
Jan & Jack Creighton, Honorary Co-Chairs, Campaign for the New Burke
Mike & Lynn Garvey, Honorary Co-Chairs, Campaign for the New Burke
Greg Blume, Co-Chair, Campaign for the New Burke
Mary Dunnam, Co-Chair, Campaign for the New Burke
Ellen Ferguson, Co-Chair, Campaign for the New Burke
John Kincaid, President, Burke Museum Association
Julie K. Stein, Executive Director, Burke Museum
New Burke Partners
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
Oxbow Organic Farm and Education Center
University of Washington