Burke Boxes

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

Build an interactive experience for your learners

Learn more about how to facilitate a Burke Box while teaching remotely.

Learn more

Portable kits of museum-quality collection pieces and lessons

Bring the Burke Museum to your classroom, library, or community event! Burke Boxes are portable kits of museum-quality collection pieces and lessons, as well as activities that can be tailored to all ages and interests.

With topics ranging from culture to earth and life sciences, our 18 Burke Box titles support classroom curriculum and highlight the natural world and Washington’s cultural heritage.


Earth Science

Life Science


a boy plays with toy spiders

Cost Assistance

Our generous donors make it possible for Burke Education to offer cost assistance to eligible schools, programs and families to ensure no child is turned away because of financial limitations.

Questions & Answers

We've compiled answers to some of the most common questions we receive. Have another question that you need help with? Contact us. Please also refer to the Burke Box Terms & Conditions (PDF) for more information.

Yes. Based on research from the CDC, NHS, WHO and other major institutions guiding the global and national novel coronavirus response, we have updated our cleaning protocols for Burke Boxes to ensure a safe experience for both clients and Burke staff. These new cleaning protocols combine processes like isolation, alcohol sanitization, and UV sterilization, all proven methods for eliminating the novel coronavirus, to ensure that Burke Boxes and their contents are safe for handling before they are released to a new client.

Updates to our rental policies ensure that there is a standardized time period between each box rental that allows ample time for both isolation and disinfection. We encourage facilitators (and learners, if you’re doing in-person learning experiences) to help us further increase the safety of Burke Box use by following recommended best practices—wear face protection and gloves when handling Burke Box collection items and follow proper hand washing procedures before and after engaging with your Burke Box.

This new rental schedule assures all boxes and their contents are thoroughly and consistently sanitized, making them safe for both Burke staff and Burke clients to utilize. Staffing patterns at the Burke have been adjusted to meet the health and safety needs of Burke employees and visitors. Having all box reservations start and end on the same day of the week allows us to streamline our sanitization procedures in between rentals and maximize staff’s onsite time.

School looks different for most learners during this pandemic. Luckily, Burke Boxes are very adaptable resources that can be used easily in distance learning situations.

Check out our new tips for teaching remotely with Burke Boxes.

Absolutely! In addition to classrooms around the state, Burke Boxes have been used by homeschooling parents, after school groups, community groups, early learning facilities, and libraries! Each Burke Box includes lesson plans to give you quick start guidelines and ideas for how to use your box. 

Burke Boxes can be picked up on the start date of your rental from the Burke Museum Business Entrance during business hours (8 AM – 4 PM). Because of our updated sanitization procedures, your rental should always begin on a Friday.

When you arrive at the Burke Museum, use the call button outside the Burke Museum Business Entrance door to tell staff you are picking up or returning a Burke Box. If you are picking up a box, provide the name of the reservation holder and the Burke Box title. A Burke staff member will deliver or retrieve your Burke Box outside the Business Entrance door shortly. To minimize the spread of illness and germs, clients will no longer enter the Burke Business Entrance to pick up or return their Burke Boxes.

The new Burke Museum address is 4300 15th Ave NE, Seattle (get directions to the Burke). If driving, you may pull into the N1 parking lot off of Memorial Way NE (the main entrance to UW campus off of NE 45th St). Please use the loading and unloading zone when picking up your Burke Box and not the adjacent parking lot or the main visitor entrance. The N1 parking lot is a paid lot managed by the University of Washington Transportation Services.

If you have questions or concerns about your ability to retrieve or drop off your Burke Box, please call us at 206.543.5591.

Your Burke Boxes should be returned to the new Burke Museum loading dock by 4 PM on the last day of your rental period. Because of our updated sanitization procedures, your rental should always end on a Friday. For shipped boxes, your Burke Box should be placed in the mail for return no later than the last day of your rental period. Please check that all materials are in the box and packaged properly before returning; you are responsible for any lost or damaged items.

Give us a call at 206.543.5591 or email burked@uw.edu if you are unable to return your box on time for any reason. Please note that we have a late fee of $10 per day per Burke Box.

A Burke Box rental costs*:

$50 for 1 week 
$60 for 2 weeks
$20 for each additional week

Please note: Pricing for Backyard Scientist Backpacks is structured differently from other Burke Boxes. Please see the Backpacks page for pricing.

Payment can be made online through our webform or in person via credit card, check, or purchase order no later than the last date of the rental period.

*Does not include shipping costs.

Yes! Our generous donors make it possible for us to offer cost assistance to schools and programs across the state. To apply, please fill out our Burke Box Cost Assistance Request form.

Yes, Burke Boxes can be mailed to Washington state recipients outside of King County* for an additional $30 per box (Please note: Cost assistance and scholarships cannot be applied to shipping costs.). This fee does not include return shipping; mailing all Burke Boxes back to the Burke Museum is the responsibility of the renter. Burke Boxes should be mailed for return no later than the last day of the rental period. All return Burke Boxes should be shipped to: 

The Burke Museum
4300 15th Ave NE
Box 353010
Seattle, WA 98195

*Due to proximity to the museum and an increasing number of rentals, we aren't able to offer shipping within King County or outside the state of Washington. We're sorry for any inconvenience!

Yes, if you are unable to pick-up or return a Burke Box on the scheduled date, or need to change or cancel a reservation, please call the Education office at 206.543.5591 as soon as possible.

Cancellations must be made a minimum of two weeks before the scheduled ship or pick-up date for a refund. Cancellations made with less than two weeks’ notice will be charged the full rental fee.

Have a Question? 

Burke Education is here to help.

Contact Us

Thank You

Program Supporters