Collections & Research

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

Collections tell the story of life on Earth. Every discovery sheds new light on the past, and helps us better anticipate the future.

The Burke is an active research museum. The more than 18 million biological, geological and cultural objects in its collections are a respected and relied-upon resource for researchers here and around the globe. 

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


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.

Arts & Cultures

The Arts & Cultures 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.


Amphibians and reptiles from around the world.


Preserved fish specimens from around the world.


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


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


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

Plants & Fungi

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


Mineral specimens from all classes and meteorites.

Invertebrate & Micropaleontology

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


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

Vertebrate Paleontology

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

a student and professor look at art together

Our Work

At the Burke, we bring together people, objects and the stories that make them meaningful.

Photo: Mark Stone/University of Washington
Photo: Mark Stone/University of Washington