Posted in: Arts Posted on: May 23rd, 2016

The Burke, Washington’s Oldest Public Museum

Photo Credit: Public Domain

There are several reasons to look for apartments near the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. You might just want a destination nearby for family outings on rainy days, or maybe you recently snagged a job as a docent or researcher at the museum. Regardless of the exact impetus, it can’t hurt to learn more about this Seattle museum. Here’s a quick glimpse at the Burke Museum’s history, its current exhibits, and other interesting tidbits.

History of The Burke Museum

The Burke Museum was first founded in 1885 and more formally established as the Washington State Museum in 1899, but historians have traced its roots all the way back to a high school naturalist club that was formed in 1879. This makes it the oldest public museum in the state of Washington. Its name was eventually changed to the Burke Museum to honor Thomas and Caroline McGilvra Burke since Caroline bestowed her collection of Native American artifacts to the museum upon her death in 1932.

Plan Your Visit

The museum sits right on the campus of the University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences at 4331 Memorial Way NE, and it welcomes guests from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost of admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors over the age of 65, and $7.50 for children and students with ID. Children who are four years old or younger can visit for free. If you want to skip the admission costs entirely, come to the Burke Museum between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month.

Exhibits and Features

More than 16 million objects live at the Burke Museum at any given time, taking both the permanent and traveling exhibits into account. Washington’s First Dinosaur, an 80-million-year-old fossil of a theropod, resides in the lobby of the museum, perched watchfully over arriving guests. Say hello to the dino before you head to the Erna Gunther Ethnobotanical Garden. This outdoor display is home to 50-plus species of beautiful flowers and plants. Nearby, catch Plastics Unwrapped, a traveling exhibit that reveals what life was like before plastics existed, how they are made, and why they are useful. The Owl and The Woodpecker is another traveling exhibit, and it features 25 large-scale photographs by Paul Bannick.

A day of exploring the exhibits may work up an appetite. The Burke Cafe serves juice, coffee, pastries, and snacks. It features beautiful 18th-century French pine paneling to create an elegant atmosphere. After you refuel, head to the Burke Store to take a little of the museum home with you. The store carries apparel, prints, cards, books, games, and science kits based on the exhibits.

Programs at The Burke Museum

The Burke Museum offers a variety of programs for all kids, including the Girls in Science program, Scout activities, and youth camps. Through these programs, your children can take part in hands-on activities, get a look behind the scenes at the museum, and even meet real scientists.

The Burke Museum is full of engaging exhibits, fun features, and hands-on programs. So moving into apartments near the museum creates the opportunity for frequent visits, and also situates you in the heart of a culturally rich neighborhood in Seattle.