Botany And Herbarium

Botany + Herbarium Services and Policies

As the Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Burke Museum offers the following services through the WTU Herbarium. If you don’t find a service or policy you’re looking for, please contact the Herbarium collections manager on the People and Contact page.

Specimen Loans

Specimen loans are made solely to researchers associated with academic and research institutions. For more information about specimen loans, please contact the Herbarium collections manager on the People and Contact page. Educational and community groups should consider requesting the Plants of Washington Burke Box from the museum’s education department.

Specimen Exchanges

The Herbarium's field collections are often made in replicate, and as a result, the Herbarium has an active specimen exchange program with herbaria primarily in western North America. For more information about specimen exchanges, please contact the Herbarium collections manager on the People and Contact page.

Visiting the Collections

The Herbarium is open to the public for research purposes. There are no exhibits or object displays in the collections. Please note that the Herbarium is not located at the Burke Museum but is a short 15 minute walk south. For more information about visiting the collections, please contact the Herbarium collections manager on the People and Contact page.

Hours
The Herbarium is open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, but if you are planning a visit, please call the Herbarium collections manager to confirm.

Research
The collections are available for research use during normal Herbarium hours. Interested researchers should email the Herbarium collections manager for more information. Some requests for specimen data can be answered using our collections database and other online resources.

Protocol for visiting
The specimens in this plant "library" are part of the global heritage of research plant materials. Herbarium specimens are fragile, and current use must safeguard their future availability and usefulness.

  • All first time visitors to the Herbarium must make an appointment in advance with the Collections Manager. On your first visit you will receive an orientation to the collections.
  • Do not bring unfumigated (living or dead) plants into the Herbarium. Dried plant material must be fumigated onsite by freezing for 48 hours. Fresh material, if enclosed in sealed (i.e. Ziploc) plastic bags, may be examined in the Herbarium if it is not removed from the bag.
  • Consumption of food and the examination of herbarium specimens is not allowed (see topic of “poisoned” specimens below).
  • Please keep the herbarium cabinets closed when not in use.

Annotations

  • Make annotations on provided labels with permanent ink (not ballpoint). If you are annotating many specimens, you may paper clip one label as a sample to a folder of specimens and leave the folder on the table. We will print and attach labels to all the specimens in the folder.
  • Annotation labels, Pigma (permanent) pens and glue bottles are available from the Collections Manager.

Resource: Location and parking information for the Herbarium on the People and Contact page.

Collections Tours

Tours usually lasts between 30 and 45 minutes and covers the history of the collections, how specimens are prepared and organized in the collections, and some of the ongoing projects based in the Herbarium.

Groups from on and off-campus are welcome and we can accommodate up to 20 adults at a time. We can also provide tours for high school age students and younger, but we recommend only scheduling a tour if it is part of a larger curriculum unit on botany, taxonomy or a related subject. For more information about tours, please contact the Herbarium collections manager on the People and Contact page.

Please note that the Herbarium is not located at the Burke Museum but is a short 15 minute walk south.

Making a reservation
Advance tour reservations are required.

Resource: Location and parking information for the Herbarium on the People and Contact page.

Specimen Identification

We are able to provide identifications for a small number of specimens that are sent to us or brought in by appointment. Projects involving a large number of identifications can be arranged on a fee basis. For more information about specimen identification, please contact the Herbarium collections manager on the People and Contact page.

Specimen Donation

The Herbarium gladly accepts fully curated (pressed, dried) specimens with label data. For more information about specimen donations, please contact the Herbarium collections manager on the People and Contact page.

Internships and Practica

The Herbarium offers academic credit-based internships for undergraduate students at the University of Washington. The specific demands of the internships are worked out with the Collections Manager. Past internships have focused on specimen identification, specimen georeferencing and botanical illustration. For more information about internships and practica, please contact the Herbarium collections manager on the People and Contact page.

Earning credits
Each credit requires 3 hours of work per week per quarter, with a 2 credit minimum. At the end of the term, the student must complete a 1 to 2-page summary of the experience.

Schedule
The schedule will be arranged with the Herbarium collections manager.

Volunteer Opportunities

For information about current Herbarium volunteer opportunities, visit the volunteering at the Burke page.

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