Coffee: The World in Your Cup. January 24 to June 7, 2009.
About the Exhibit

Nearly 4 million people attended the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYP) at the University of Washington campus in Seattle in 1909. The A-Y-P Exposition also highlighted the people and cultures of the Pacific Region, displaying many ethnographic objects that now reside in the Burke Museum's permanent collection.

One hundred years later, the Burke Museum has organized A-Y-P: Indigenous Voices Reply, an exhibit that examines the representation of indigenous peoples at the fair, explains how the fair shaped the history of the Burke Museum, and provides a forum for indigenous voices of today to reply.

This exhibit features some of the objects that were exhibited at the fair, including Tlingit objects from the George T. Emmons collection, which was purchased by the UW Board of Regents for the young Washington State Museum (now the Burke Museum) following the exposition.

Many of the Burke Museum's collections came from three world’s fairs:

  • In 1893, the James G. Swan and Myron Eells collections, assembled for the Washington State Pavilion at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, were transferred to the Washington State (Burke) Museum.
  • In 1905, a large Philippine Islands collection and more than 20,000 Columbia River Basin cultural objects were purchased after the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland.
  • After 1909, the University of Washington Regents purchased over 1,900 Northwest Coast artifacts collected by George T. Emmons for the A-Y-P, and the Department of the Interior deposited the Hachman/Konig Alaskan Arctic cultural collection, displayed in the Alaska Building, as a loan.

After the A-Y-P closed, the museum's collections were moved into the California Building, and in 1913 to the log-columned Forestry Building. Insect infestations and rot soon required that building to be destroyed. In 1927, the museum moved into what had been the Washington State Building. The museum remained there until it moved to this building in 1962.

In addition to the historic objects included in this exhibit, the Burke presents the work of sixteen contemporary indigenous artists responding to these objects and to the representation of indigenous peoples at the A-Y-P Exposition.  

AYP: Indigenous Voices Reply is one of many projects and programs being developed city-wide for the Seattle centennial celebration of the A-Y-P Exposition. For more about the 2009 AYP Centennial, visit

Painting by David Neel
Authorized Birds Eye View of the Alsaska Yukon Pacific Exposistion
Courtesy University of Washington Libraries (1909)

Haida Headress
Haida Headdress
Artist unknown, 19th century, Haida/Tlingit