Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle

(4/5 based on 65+ 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
  • This little museum is a great spot to learn more about local history and culture. You can easily do this museum in an hour or two and it is very inexpensive and well worth the trip.  more »
  • Went here for free on our ASTC passports. I'm glad it was free because i would've been disappointed if we paid full price for admission. The museum is designed for much older children/teens/adults so ...  more »
  • Good museum exploring the geology, anthropology, archaeology and history of the Pacific coast in general and the Seattle area in particular. We spent three hours there and saw pretty well everything b...  more »
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.