Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle

(4/5 based on 60+ reviews on the web)
The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is a natural history museum in Seattle, Washington, in the United States. Established in 1899 as the Washington State Museum, it traces its origins to a high school naturalist club formed in 1879. The museum is the oldest natural history museum west of the Mississippi River and boasts a collection of more than 16 million artifacts, including the world's largest collection of spread bird wings. Located on the campus of the University of Washington, the Burke Museum is the official state museum of Washington.HistoryYoung Naturalists SocietyThe roots of the Burke Museum can be traced to a natural history club formed by high school students in the 19th century. The group was formed in December 1879 by students Edmond S. Meany, J. O. Young, P. Brooks Randolph, and Charles Denny. Denny's father, city founder Arthur Denny, was a regent of the Territorial University of Washington and arranged for the group to meet on campus. The Young Naturalists adopted a constitution and bylaws, and the official name "Young Naturalists Society," in 1880. As the founding members graduated high school and matriculated to the university, the membership of the Young Naturalists expanded to include university students.In 1882 Orson "Bug" Johnson was retained as a biology instructor at the University of Washington, bringing 20,000 animal specimens with him. Johnson immediately involved himself with the Young Naturalists, and the addition of his collection gave the club the largest natural history collection in the Pacific Northwest. Under Johnson's direction, the Young Naturalists began expanding this nucleus of specimens and artifacts, which were stored in a backroom of the Denny home. A permanent structure to house the growing collection was built on the Territorial University's campus in 1886, with the club soliciting donations to fund its construction. Many specimens in the collection were regularly borrowed by university faculty to assist in instruction.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Museum's web-site, location and history made an impression that it has a great collection and will be a good destination for a day trip to Seattle. We paid for 4 hours of parking, intending to spend a...  more »
  • To which you are interested in the history this Museum les goes to be very interesting. In the find from dinosaur fossils found in this region as well as we can also see on the natives and the art that was developed in this place. The first Thursday admission is free
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  • United States Northwest has an important history of native inhabitants, expected a museum where I will have more on the customs, the housing, the way of life, fishing, family... has important parts but is a potpourri of the inhabitants of the Pacific, messy and little explained in my opinion... a shame.
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Google
  • You can spend and hour to an hour and a half here if you read and do everything in the museum. Stays very warm inside on hot days. The museum does a nice job of making local connections. The exhibits are small but well thought out.
  • This is a neat little museum. We came for the Kid's Activity (which is free once a month). Down stairs is the indigenous peoples exhibit, and upstairs is were the bones and books are. The staff is helpful to those who have questions, and they have a military discount. The reason it isnt a 5 star is because the place is a bit smaller then initially expected. But they did do a great job with the artifacts they have.
  • I hadn't been to this museum in a few decades, and it was smaller than I remembered, but I enjoyed it, and it wasn't overwhelming to take a five-year-old to. It definitely has different types of exhibits than any other museum in the area.
  • This museum is always fun and plenty of hands on things for the kids to look at. There are native american artifacts, Asian artifacts, and dinosaurs, and volcano displays. Go on a dinosaur day and the kids can dress up with a T-Rex tail.
  • Nice museum to check out. Free to college students so I recommend everyone check it out at some point. Not that large though.