Past Exhibits

Photo: Nate Watters Photography
Photo: Nate Watters Photography

A little about our history

Below you'll find exhibits the Burke Museum has featured over the past 10 years. Want to see what's new? Plan your visit.

graphic with words "work in progress"

Testing, Testing 1-2-3: Work in Progress

June 17, 2017 – December 30, 2018

In Testing, Testing, 1-2-3: Work in Progress, see the behind-the-scenes work of getting ready for the New Burke—like preparing a massive T. rex skull, and packing fragile artifacts and specimens—and get a sneak peek of objects coming out of storage for display in the new museum.

partially prepared t. rex skull in a workroom

T. rex LIVE

August 12, 2017 – December 30, 2018

Watch "live" as Burke paleontologists carefully expose the skull of this incredible 66-million-year-old beast, nicknamed the "Tufts-Love" Rex after the two volunteers who discovered it. More and more of the skull will be exposed each week, so come back often to watch the progress!

a woman looks at an articulated dinosaur in the former gallery

Life & Times of Washington State

Former Permanent Gallery

Life and Times of Washington State was a hands-on adventure that begins 545 million years ago and leads you through the evolution of Washington’s geology, biology and archaeology. Starting when most of Washington was covered by an ancient sea, you'll see giant skeletons of dinosaurs, including StegosaurusElasmosaurus and a 140-million-year-old Allosaurus.

a man looks closely at native masks

Pacific Voices

Former Permanent Gallery

To design this exhibit, representatives of 17 communities and Tribes considered the question: How do we pass our culture along from one generation to the next? Their answers fall into three categories: language and stories, teachers and elders, and ceremonies, with each community choosing one or more examples to share.

an abstract painting paired with a black and white photograph of a landscape
Images: Carl F. K. Pao (left) and Jan Becket (right)
Images: Carl F. K. Pao (left) and Jan Becket (right)

Kanu Kaho'olawe: Replanting, Rebirth

October 15, 2016 – July 2, 2017

Kanu Kaho'olawe: Replanting, Rebirth highlighted the work of two Hawai'i-based artists, Jan Becket and Carl Pao, who document and respond to the reclamation of Native land on Kaho'olawe Island, Hawai'i, through photography and mixed-media paintings. 

Exhibit Sponsors: Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Ellen Ferguson

a scenic photograph of a lake surrounded by forests and mountains
Photo: Thomas Bancroft
Photo: Thomas Bancroft

Wild Nearby

June 18, 2016 – April 9, 2017

Wild Nearby immersed visitors in the sights, sounds and stories of one of the largest wildlands in the U.S. Visitors learned what woodpeckers, wildflowers and frogs can tell us about how the region is changing as they mapped their next Northwest outdoor adventure. Wolverine, deer and coyote skulls, ancient artifacts from the Upper Skagit Tribe, and a full-scale replica of a fire lookout were also on display.

Credits
: Organized by the Burke Museum and created in partnership with Braided River, the conservation imprint of Mountaineers Books.

two girls look at collection tags hanging from a wall
Photo: Kiest Photography
Photo: Kiest Photography

You Build It

January 25 – May 15, 2016

You Build It: An Evolving Exhibit gave visitors the chance to share their thoughts and take part in an ever-changing discussion on topics that shape our local and global community—climate change, Seattle’s rapid growth, cultural identity and extinction. Topics were selected based on feedback from community listening sessions where the Burke asked individuals from diverse backgrounds what issues matter most to them and their friends and family. 

Credits: Developed by the Burke Museum

a model boat with full-scale boat in the background
Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum
Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum

Maker:Market

December 5, 2015 – January 3, 2016

Maker:Market allowed visitors to witness the revival of a lost art as part of a special month-long program at the Burke Museum. From December 5-19, Burke Curator of Native American Anthropology Dr. Sven Haakanson, students and volunteers constructed an Angyaaq—a traditional Native boat made by Alaska’s Sugpiat peoples and destroyed by Russian settlers in the 1800s.

The Angyaaq assembled during the Burke’s Maker:Market is serving as a prototype for another boat being constructed by Haakanson and community members from the village of Akhiok on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Credits: Developed by the Burke Museum

illustration of a giant snake eating a crocodile
Image: Copyright 2012 SNI/SI Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
Image: Copyright 2012 SNI/SI Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Titanoboa: Monster Snake

August 22, 2015 – November 15, 2015

Deep in a Colombian coal mine, scientists discovered 60-million-year-old remains of the world’s largest snake: a 48-foot, 2,500-pound predator that could devour a crocodile. Titanoboa delved into this startling discovery with a full-size replica of the giant snake, plus fossils, photos and videos that reconstruct Earth’s earliest-known rainforest and the lost world of life in the Paleocene following the demise of dinosaurs.

Credits: Titanoboa is a collaboration of the Smithsonian Institution, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Exhibit Sponsors: U.S. Bank, Seattle's Child

a bentwood box in a gallery
Photo: Burke Museum
Photo: Burke Museum

Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired

November 22, 2014 – July 27, 2015

Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired explored the dynamic relationship between the Burke Museum and Northwest Native art, artists, and scholars. Featuring work by contemporary artists whose practice has been inspired by objects in the Burke’s collections, the exhibit demonstrated how today’s artists and art historians learn from past generations.

Credits: Developed by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors: Argosy Cruises, Bekins Northwest, Boeing, Microsoft, the National Endowment for the Arts, Office of Arts & Culture Seattle, 4Culture, the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Nesholm Family Foundation, the Peach Foundation, Quest for Truth Foundation, Sealaska, Simpson Center for the Humanities, Washington State Arts Commission, Kym Aughtry, Marrella Fund, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, U.S. Bank, Port Madison Enterprises, Suquamish Tribe, KUOW

a mug and other artifacts in a gallery display
Photo: Burke Museum
Photo: Burke Museum

Imagine That: Surprising Stories and Amazing Objects from the Burke Museum

April 12, 2014 – October 26, 2014

The Burke collects a lot of things. Dust isn’t one of them. Imagine That revealed the surprising stories, complex questions, and awe-inspiring answers hidden inside objects. This exhibit showed a new side of the Burke, and uncovered some of the most fascinating, intriguing, and rare objects in its collection. Visitors joined scientists who were making daily discoveries in the exhibit, and learned how collections show us new things about the world around us every day. Hopefully guests came away having learned something about themselves. Imagine that!

Credits: Developed by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors: The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Lucky Seven Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, Quest for Truth Foundation

the elwha river with salmon
Photo: Steve Ringman/ The Seattle Times
Photo: Steve Ringman/ The Seattle Times

Elwha: A River Reborn

Nov. 23, 2013 – Mar. 9, 2014

Elwha: A River Reborn took visitors on a journey into the Northwest's legendary Elwha River Valley to discover the people, places, and history behind the world's largest dam removal project, an unprecedented bet on the power of nature.

Credits: Based on a book by Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes and photographer Steve Ringman; developed by the Burke Museum in collaboration with The Seattle Times, Mountaineers Books, and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe

Exhibit Sponsors: The Boeing Company, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Rebecca S. and Robert M. Benton Endowed Fund, Quest for Truth Foundation

women wear colorful dresses while working in India
Photo: Self Employed Women's Association
Photo: Self Employed Women's Association

Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives That Transform Communities

June 12, 2013 – Oct. 27, 2013

Around the world, female artisans are creating grassroots cooperatives to reach new markets, raise living standards, and transform lives. Empowering Women provided an intimate view of 10 such enterprises in 10 countries through first-person voices, stellar photographs, and stunning examples of cooperatives' handmade traditional arts.

Credits: Organized by the Museum of International Folk Art

Exhibit Sponsors: Microsoft Corporation, 4Culture, Quest for Truth Foundation

plastic items hang on a wall
Photo: Burke Museum
Photo: Burke Museum

Plastics Unwrapped

Dec. 1, 2012 – May 27, 2013

Can you imagine life before plastics? Humans existed without them for millennia, but now, we rely on plastics to meet our basic needs. This exhibit explored how material culture has been changed by plastics, providing insight into life before plastics, how they’re made, and what happens after we throw them away.

Credits: Developed by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors: The Boeing Company, University of Washington, Cedar Grove, Snoqualmie Tribe, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Society of Plastics Engineers, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

a bird swims through a school of fish
Photo: Cristobal Serrano
Photo: Cristobal Serrano

2012 International Conservation Photography Awards

June 30, 2012 – Nov. 25, 2012

With 75 award-winning photographs from across the globe, this exhibit captured beautiful moments in the natural world, showcased the amazing abilities of environmental photographers, and raised awareness of conserving the world’s natural resources. The International Conservation Photography Awards is a biennial juried photography competition founded by acclaimed local nature photographer Art Wolfe.

Credits: Presented by the Burke Museum and ICP Awards

Exhibit Sponsors: 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

a boy and girl walk by a skinny cow
Photo: Peter Menzel
Photo: Peter Menzel

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

Jan. 28, 2012 – June 10, 2012

This exhibit explored food traditions around the world through photographs of 10 families at home, at the market, and surrounded by a week’s worth of groceries. Accompanying the exhibit, Salish Bounty: Traditional Native American Foods of Puget Sound connected archaeological and historical research about tribal diets in the Puget Sound area to current efforts to revitalize Native food traditions.

Credits: Hungry Planet was organized by the Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota, and based on a book by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio. Salish Bounty was developed by the Burke Museum in collaboration with guest curators Warren King George, Muckleshoot/Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, Historian/Traditionalist; and Elizabeth M. Swanaset, Nooksack/Cowichan/Laq'a:mel Tribes, Cultural/Traditional Foods Specialist.

Exhibit Sponsors: Microsoft Corporation, PCC Natural Markets, 4Culture, Quest for Truth Foundation

people in masks and hats at a carnaval
Photo: Shirley and David Rowen. Image courtesy of Museum of International Folk Art
Photo: Shirley and David Rowen. Image courtesy of Museum of International Folk Art

¡Carnaval!

Sept. 25, 2011 – Jan. 8, 2012

¡Carnaval! highlighted eight Carnival celebrations from communities in Europe and the Americas (including Mardi Gras), exploring the history, traditions, arts, and meaning of Carnival celebrations around the world and featuring a unique art installation of full-sized Carnival parade puppets created by local Seattle artists affiliated with Brazil Center.

Credits: Organized by the Museum of International Folk Art with support from NEH on the Road and Mid-America Arts Alliance

Exhibit Sponsors: 4Culture, The Boeing Company, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, National Endowment for the Humanities, Simpson Center for the Humanities, Wells Fargo

a wolf
Photo: Julie Lawrence Studios/Wolf Haven International
Photo: Julie Lawrence Studios/Wolf Haven International

Wolves and Wild Lands in the 21st Century

June 4, 2011 – Sept. 5, 2011

Presenting a contemporary perspective on wolves in North America and featuring specimens from the Burke mammalogy collection, this exhibit explored human and wolf coexistence from a regional perspective, examining issues and experiences from the Arctic to the American Southwest.

Credits: Developed by the International Wolf Center in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota and toured by the Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota

Exhibit Sponsors: Tom and Sonya Campion, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Kongsgaard-Goldman Foundation, Norcliffe Foundation, Quest for Truth Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

a woodpecker takes off in flight
Photo: Paul Bannick
Photo: Paul Bannick

The Owl and the Woodpecker

Mar. 19, 2011 – Aug. 7, 2011

Featuring the work of Seattle photographer and author Paul Bannick, The Owl and the Woodpecker introduced museum visitors to the most important species of owls and woodpeckers in North America. Through photographs, specimens from the Burke ornithology collection and an interactive education space, the exhibit highlighted the critical importance of conservation.

Credits: Developed by the Burke Museum with Paul Bannick and Braided River, a partner of The Mountaineers Books

Exhibit Sponsor: Microsoft Corporation

a woman's jacket from china
Photo: Burke Museum
Photo: Burke Museum

Weaving Heritage: Textile Masterpieces from the Burke Collection

Oct. 2, 2010 – Feb. 27, 2011

In the Burke Museum’s first major exhibition of its international textile collection, masterpieces from the peoples of the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands were displayed.

Credits: Organized by the Burke Museum

Exhibit Sponsors: 4Culture, The Boeing Company, Quest for Truth Foundation, University of Washington Southeast Asia Center at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

a beluga whale underwater
Photo: Franco Banfi
Photo: Franco Banfi

2010 International Conservation Photography Awards

June 19, 2010 – Sept. 6, 2010

Winning photographs, representing the best of conservation photography from around the world, were featured in this exhibit. The International Conservation Photography Awards is a biennial juried photography competition founded by acclaimed local nature photographer Art Wolfe.

Credits: Presented by the Burke Museum and ICP Awards

Exhibit Sponsors: Microsoft Corporation, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

an illustration of a person driving with a dinosaur in the road
Illustration: Ray Troll
Illustration: Ray Troll

Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway

Dec. 19, 2009 – May 31, 2010

This premiere of a nationally touring exhibit took visitors on a "road trip" through the American West to learn about our region’s intriguing fossils and the stories they tell about the past. Bringing together the best of the Burke Museum's fossil collection and the fossil-inspired artwork of celebrated artist Ray Troll, the exhibit explored questions about evolution, extinction and early life on Earth.

Credits: Organized by the Burke Museum in collaboration with Ray Troll and Kirk Johnson

Exhibit Sponsors: Microsoft Corporation, Pendleton and Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation, Wells Fargo