Our Work

Photo: Christian Sidor/Burke Museum
Photo: Christian Sidor/Burke Museum

The Burke Museum from the
Inside-Out

Natural history and culture is everything around us: the land, water, plants, animals and people. Daily news stories warn us of irreversible shifts in nature and culture: the last speaker of a language passes away; a fragile ecosystem suffers irreparable damage. Understanding the implications of this rapid and complex change is daunting.

Burke research and programs contextualize what is happening in our world and inspire action. Our work is collaborative; we partner with institutions, communities and people around the world to understand our past and create positive change in the future.

At A Glance

Collections & Research

2018 in Review
16

Million objects in the collections.

19,650

Specimens and objects loaned to researchers around the world.

4,875

Researchers & community members visited the Burke to study collections.

11

New species identified by Burke researchers.

Collections & Research

Students, researchers, artists and community members draw on the collections to build knowledge of our world—and address challenges facing communities in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe.

Collections Databases

Archaeology

The Archaeology Collections reflect how people live through the objects they leave behind.

Bill Holm Center

The Bill Holm Center is the premier center for the study of Native arts of the Pacific Northwest.

Contemporary Culture

The Contemporary Cultural Collections reflect living and dynamic cultures. 

Arachnology & Entomology

Specimens of spiders, insects, and allied invertebrates.

Genetic Resources

Frozen tissues from a wide variety of wild animals for current and future research.

Herpetology

Amphibians and reptiles from around the world.

Ichthyology

Preserved fish specimens from around the world.

Malacology

A broad diversity of modern molluscs collected from around the world.

Mammalogy

Mammal specimens from all continents except Antarctica with a strong emphasis in the Pacific Northwest.

Ornithology

Bird study skins, spread wings, bird skeletons, egg sets, nests and frozen tissue samples.

Plants & Fungi

Vascular plants, nonvascular plants, fungi, lichen, and algae.

Minerals

Mineral specimens from all classes and meteorites.

Invertebrate & Micropaleontology

Fossil marine clams, snails, ammonoids, nautiloids and microfossils.

Paleobotany

Fossil leaves, flowers, seeds and fruits, wood, plant microfossils, and fossil insects.

Vertebrate Paleontology

Fossil mammals, birds, dinosaurs, reptiles, amphibians and fishes.

Cultural Heritage

Relationships maintained between communities and the Burke Museum preserve the ingenuity, creativity, science, and complex knowledge of natural and cultural resources.

Tribal Consultation 

Culture

Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum
Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum

Education

High-quality, hands-on science and cultural learning programs across Washington state

Education Burke education programs inspire learners of all ages to ask questions about the world around us. Using authentic materials and specimens, programs focus on using all of our senses to foster curiosity and create wonder.

a mom looks into a microscope as her two girls look on
Photo: Stephen Brashear
Photo: Stephen Brashear

Family & Youth Programs

a boy looks closely as a woman holds an object in her hand
Photo: Burke Museum
Photo: Burke Museum

Educators & Schools

Land Acknowledgement

The Burke Museum stands on the lands of the Coast Salish Peoples, whose ancestors resided here since time immemorial. Many Indigenous Peoples thrive in this place—alive and strong.

a young woman stands holding a whale vertebrae while cleaning it on the beach

Volunteer at the Burke

Our generous volunteers contribute to scientific discoveries and cultural knowledge, meet people with similar interests, and help visitors connect to the world around them. Join us today!

Photo: Rachel Ormiston/Burke Museum
Photo: Rachel Ormiston/Burke Museum