Photo: Burke Museum
Photo: Burke Museum

Take a deep dive into the world of whales, dolphins and porpoises! 

How have these mammals adapted to a fully aquatic life? Find out by examining real skulls, bones, baleen and teeth to learn more about their unique adaptations. Compare whale sizes and learn about the importance of whales in marine ecosystems, as well as their significance to humans.

Request Box


1 week rental: $50
Each additional week: $30

Financial Assistance Application

What's Inside?

Burke Boxes include museum-quality objects and artifacts, as well as activities that can be tailored to many different ages and interests.

  • Bottle-nosed Dolphin Pectoral Fin Replica
  • Bowhead Whale Baleen
  • Whale Cervical Vertebra
  • Fin Whale Ear Bone
  • Krill in Vial
  • Orca Rostrum
  • Porpoise Skull, Jaw & Teeth
  • Porpoise Ear Bone
  • Sperm Whale Teeth
  • Smithsonian Guides: Whales, Dolphins & Porpoises, by Mark Carwardine
  • Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: A Natural History and Species Guide, by Annalisa Berta
  • DK Eyewitness Books: Whales, by Vassili Papastavrou
  • Whales and Other Marine Mammals of Washington, by Tamara Hartson
  • Krill the Card Game
  • 300-foot Fiberglass Tape Measure

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.

Burke Boxes are big and heavy. Our larger size is 24” long and 18” tall. The weight of each Box varies, but many Boxes are over 25 pounds. They are hard-sided shipping cases with a handle on top for carrying. Some Boxes also have side handles. Each Box has at least one buckle strap to keep the lid and interior contents secure during transport.  

Burke Boxes have foam and plastic trays inside that store and protect the collection pieces and teaching materials. Many collection pieces have bubble wrap or foam wrappings. Sticker labels help identify which collection pieces belong in which compartments. Each Box varies, but some Burke Boxes have upwards of 40 collection pieces inside! 

Boxes are a very popular resource, both during the school year and during summer break. Our most popular titles can have back to back bookings months out. Burke Box rental requests must be made a minimum of two (2) weeks in advance of the desired start date through our online request form, but we encourage clients to request their Boxes earlier when possible. Rental requests can be submitted up to six months ahead of the desired rental start date. 

Burke Box rentals require a minimum of two weeks' advance booking. Rental requests are submitted through our online request form. Rental requests submitted with less than two (2) weeks’ notice cannot be accommodated. 

Once we have received your request, we will respond within three (3) business days. If we can accommodate your request, we will place a temporary hold on your desired Burke Box for you. You will then receive an email with your reservation details, our terms and conditions, and a link to confirm or decline the reservation. If we are unable to accommodate your request, we will contact you to discuss alternative dates or titles. 

Once your Burke Box rental is confirmed, you will receive a detailed invoice via email. You can pay for your program by check, credit card or purchase order. Payment can be made at the time of your rental confirmation or at a later date. Payment is due on the final day of your Burke Box rental. 

Please note:

  • Temporary holds on requested Burke Boxes will last three (3) days after the confirmation link is sent. If you do not confirm your program via the emailed link within three (3) days of the link being sent, your hold will be released. 

  • Cancellation for Burke Box rentals must be made two weeks in advance of the rental start date to receive a refund. Burke Box rentals canceled less than two weeks prior to their start date will not be refunded but may potentially be rescheduled depending on availability. 

A Burke Box rental costs:

$50 for 1 week 
$30 for each additional week

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.

Yes! Our generous donors make it possible for us to offer financial assistance to schools, families, and programs across the state. Read more about our Financial Assistance program to see if you qualify. If so, fill out the financial assistance section in your rental request. 

Yes, Burke Boxes can be mailed to Washington State residents outside of King County. Thanks to our generous donors, prepaid return shipping labels are provided with mailed Boxes. To return a Burke Box, clients should place the provided return shipping label over the original label and deliver the Box to the carrier indicated on the return label no later than the last day of the rental period.  

In addition to classrooms around the state, Burke Boxes have been used by homeschooling families, after school groups, community groups, virtual learning groups, early learning centers, assisted living facilities and libraries!  

Burke Box lesson plans are written at an elementary level but can be adjusted for younger or older learners. Burke Boxes can also be used without their lesson plans.  

Thinking about using a Burke Box for a virtual class or event? Check out our tips for teaching remotely with Burke Boxes

We want to provide the best Burke Box experience possible for all our clients. Restricting our rental schedule to certain days of the week ensures our staff have time to receive, check in, clean, and fix Burke Boxes between each rental.  

We recognize this schedule can be challenging for educators to accommodate; for this reason, reservation holders can send anyone in their stead to pick up or return their Burke Box. If it is impossible to coordinate a Burke Box pick up or drop off on the days assigned, please contact Burke Education at burked@uw.edu

You can pick up your Burke Box on the first day of your rental from the Burke Museum Business Entrance at the northeast corner of the building (Burke Boxes are not available at the main museum entrance). On Wednesdays and Fridays, pick up and drop off hours are between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. On Saturdays, pick up  and drop off hours are between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Using the loading dock call button, provide the renter’s name and reserved Box title(s). Burke staff will direct you to your rental.  

Clients load and unload Burke Boxes into their vehicles. Burke Boxes are bulky and heavy; clients who feel concerned about loading their own rentals should request accessibility accommodations during the reservation process. Park in the loading zone outside of the business entrance when picking up or dropping off your Burke Box. The N1 parking lot in front of the Burke is a paid parking lot. Leaving your vehicle in a parking lot stall while picking up or returning your Burke Box without paying could result in receiving a parking ticket. 

The Burke Museum address is 4303 Memorial Way NE, Seattle. The University District light rail station and several bus stops are within walking distance of the Burke but do remember that Burke Boxes are heavy and bulky. 

If you have questions or concerns about your ability to retrieve or drop off your Burke Box, please email Burke Education at burked@uw.edu

Your Burke Boxes should be returned to the Burke Museum Business Entrance by the last day of your rental period. Boxes returning on Wednesdays and Fridays must return by 4 p.m. Boxes returning on Saturdays must return by 1p.m. For shipped boxes, your Burke Box should be dropped off to the carrier indicated on your return label no later than the last day of your rental period. A late fee of $10 per day will be assessed on Burke Boxes returned after their rental end date or after the shipping grace period for mailed Boxes 

Email burked@uw.edu as soon as possible if you are unable to return your Box on time for any reason. 

If the broken collection piece is a wet specimen housed in a jar of liquid, retrieve the spill kit and follow the laminated instructions in the Burke Box. If the broken collection piece is not a wet specimen, secure it in the Burke Box and do not use it again until it is returned. Don’t discard any part of the broken collection piece! For all breakages, promptly contact Burke Education at burked@uw.edu.

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 email Burke Education at burked@uw.edu

Cancellations must be made at least two weeks before the scheduled ship or pick-up date for a refund. No refunds will be given on cancellations made with less than two (2) weeks’ notice. 

Payment for a Burke Box rental is due on the final day of the scheduled rental. Clients must pay for their rental with a mailed check or credit card through our online portal (educational institutions may submit a purchase order, and UW entities may pay via budget transfer). Staff at the Burke Museum loading dock cannot accept or process payment. Further payment instruction is provided via email once a rental is confirmed.  


More Burke Boxes

With 18 Burke Box titles ranging from culture to earth and life sciences, there's something for everyone!

Thank You

Program Supporters

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