Culture Services and Policies

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

Researching the Collections

The Burke Museum is moving to a brand new facility! In order to pack and prepare, the Culture collections are currently closed. We greatly appreciate the community's patience while we move our collections to their new home. The New Burke will open to the public in October 2019. 

Contacts during the move:

  • Holly Barker for research questions, donations and other needs
  • Bridget Johnson for questions about the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art

Please visit the online database to view Contemporary Cultural Collections. Archaeological artifacts and records are available in the Burke Museum Collections Database.

The Culture Department actively encourages research on all of its collections. Interested researchers should contact the relevant collections manager to obtain information on available collections, the research process and to schedule an appointment to discuss an individual research plan.

All researchers will be required to complete a Research Request form detailing their project and agree to all listed conditions of access. A one-page description of the proposed research must also be submitted along with the form. 


Collections Loans

Requests for borrowing objects for museum exhibits are considered on a case-by-case basis. We cannot lend objects to individuals. For more information, contact the relevant collection manager or curator on the People and Contact page.

Resource: Culture Collections Loan Policy (PDF)

Curation Services for Archaeological Collections

The Culture Department provides curation and storage services for archaeological collections and related archives collected in Washington State. For more details, including required forms and contact information, visit the Curation Services page.

Identification of an Artifact or Object

Our staff is able to answer questions and provide information on a time-available basis. For more details about identification and how to prepare to have something identified, see the Artifact Identification page.

Donating Artifacts, Objects or Archives

We are actively growing both our object and archival collections. If you wish to make a donation, please contact the relevant curator or collections manager on the People and Contact page.


The Burke Museum works closely with tribes throughout the U.S. and Canada to preserve Native American cultural items, to facilitate repatriation, to assist with tribal trainings in museum methods and cultural heritage law, and promote collaborative research and public education. For more information, contact the Burke Museum’s Registrar at or 206.616.7318. You may also contact the Culture Department’s NAGPRA Coordinator on the People and Contact page.

Resource: Repatriation at the Burke page

Bill Holm Center Grants

The Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art offers grant opportunities for artists and other researchers to visit the Pacific Northwest Regional collections at the Burke. It also offers grants for community art projects and workshops.


Archaeological Research Collections Fellowship

This program is made possible by the support of our generous donors and the income generated from the department’s endowment. The fellowship provides a stipend for one graduate and one undergraduate student to conduct summer research on the Burke’s archaeological collections. For more information, contact the curator of archaeology on the People and Contact page.

Note: There will be a temporary hiatus of the Collections Fellowship in 2017 to allow Burke staff to pack collections for the move to our new building. We plan to offer them for summer 2018.

Resources: Support the fellowship through a donation to the Archaeology Endowment

Images for Use and Reproduction

To receive a photo, scanned image or other reproduction or to film an object in the collection, please review the information below, which includes forms you will need to complete and additional instructions. Please note that the Burke owns the copyright to images of its holdings, including some but not all of those available on the website.

Reproduction and Use Policy. To order copies of photographs from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture website, you must first read the following Reproduction and Use Policy that defines the terms of use. Your acceptance of the Burke Museum's photographs in any medium constitutes the acknowledgement and acceptance of the terms and conditions of use outlined below.

Copyright and Legal Statement. The term “Burke Museum” in this statement indicates the Burke Museum, also known as the Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum and the Washington State Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Terms of Use. Copyright © 2018. University of Washington. All rights reserved. Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195-3010, 206.543.5590.

The Burke Museum retains the sole copyright for its holdings and all images depicting its holdings. Photographic images that are in the care of, or are the property of, the Burke Museum, or photographs, photocopies, artistic renderings, digital files, and images of collection items that are in the care of, or are the property of, the Burke Museum, shall not be reproduced, resold, or commercially used without the specific written permission of the Burke Museum. In some cases the Museum does not hold literary or other copyrights to some items and it is the user’s responsibility to secure those rights where necessary.

All digital files, text, images and information on the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture website are protected by copyright and are the property of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The materials on this site are made available for fair use as defined in the United States copyright laws. Copying or redistribution in any manner for personal or corporate gain is strictly prohibited. Without prior written permission, any public or commercial use of these materials is a violation of federal copyright law.

Permission. The material on the website is intended for users' educational or research purposes. Users may download or copy the material provided that they maintain all copyright notices and other notices contained therein, and that the use is personal or academic (classroom use).Commercial use or publication of the material is specifically prohibited. Other material on the website is subject to the conditions stated therein. All other uses of Material are prohibited without prior express written authorization from the Burke Museum.

Ordering and Using Reproductions. To request permission to publish an image, please complete the Reproduction Request Form and send it to the Rights and Reproductions staff listed below. A curator will review the form, advise if the image can be reproduced and determine reproduction fees. All photo orders are processed through a University of Washington photography lab. Please note that the process of requesting permission may take up to two months to complete and involves fees.

For more information, contact the Rights and Reproductions Manager or the Archaeology Collections Manager, if applicable, on the People and Contact page.


Back to Top