Giant ammonites, killer pigs, saber-toothed cats, and dinosaurs: these fossils and others are among the best of the Burke Museum's paleontology collection and most have never before been exhibited. Now, these fossils are on display to the public in a new Burke Museum exhibit that explores questions about evolution, extinction, and early life on Earth.
The Burke Museum collaborated with celebrated artist Ray Troll and Seattle-born paleontologist Kirk Johnson to present this new exhibit exploring the abundance of fossils in our midst and how fossils shed light on Earth's past. Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway will travel nationally after closing in Seattle in late May 2010.
In addition to real fossils from the Burke's collection, Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway also features twenty framed originals and five large-scale murals of Troll's whimsical, fossil-inspired artwork, all of which were created for a book of the same title, published by Troll and Johnson in 2007. The book records the "epoch tale" of the duo's 5,000-mile road trip through the American West as they sought to explore the fossil record. The museum exhibit combines visuals and stories from the book with real fossil specimens from the Burke's own paleontology collection. Also a video highlighting Troll's artistic process.
The Burke Museum is also exhibiting many specimens from the museum's mammal, bird, plant, and fish collections in an adjoining gallery called Evolution Evidence. An orca skeleton, an enormous albatross, and many contemporary fish and plant species are among the specimens never before exhibited at the Burke Museum that are used to illustrate the evolution of life on Earth. The Evolution Evidence gallery will be open to the public as part of the Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway exhibit, and will also function as a teaching space for visiting school groups