Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle

4.0
#16 of 21 in Museums in Seattle
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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Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture Reviews
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  • September 14, 2017
    We took a bus from he centre of Seattle and got to see another part of the city on the way. The bus stops just in front of the buildings. Outside there are some totem poles and other artefacts. The ad...  more »
  • July 10, 2017
    I love museums and this one was had lots to see. I loved that they provide boxes for schools to use.  more »
  • April 21, 2017
    I read so many great reviews but I am unsure why everyone was so excited about this place. It is super small so thankfully admission is not expensive! The main floor was supposed to be about Dinosaurs...  more »
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  • June 11, 2017
    Amazing collections. Fun family-oriented events. I've been here multiple times and still haven't seen it all.
  • April 30, 2017
    Great place if you have kids. My son enjoyed his time here, but it is kind of small. I would recommend that it morr fore the kids than adults. Have fun
  • June 17, 2017
    Great displays and staff. Looking forward to seeing the new museum in a couple years.
  • March 7, 2017
    Fun little museum. It takes about two hours to go through the whole thing. This is a good place to take kids because plenty the displays of kid friendly and interactive. A good place to educate yourself about Seattles diverse cultures and the native flora and fauna of Washington.
  • June 20, 2017
    Beautiful and huge selection of Coast Salish and authentic Native American artists of multiple types of collections.

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