June 16, 2010

Can you guess what it is?

For the past several months, we’ve been inviting Burke Museum Facebook fans to play a weekly game on our Facebook page we call “Collections Close Up.” Each week, we post a cropped picture of something from the museum collections and ask our fans to guess what it is. The next day, we reveal the full picture. The goals of this game are to expose our fans to the breadth of objects and specimens in the Burke collections and to promote interactivity on our Facebook page.

Here are a few samples from Collections Close Up. How many of these photos can you recognize? Click “More” below the photos to find the answers. Follow the Burke on Facebook to participate in the game!


Answer: Petrified wood known as “Araucarioxylon arizonicum” from the Chinle Formation in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. This petrified wood comes from an extinct species of conifer that is related to the Monkey Puzzle trees that grow in South America. Araucarioxylon arizonicum is the state fossil of Arizona.

Answer: Snowflake Obsidian. Obsidian is a natural glass that was once molten magma. The "snowflakes" in this type of obsidian are quartz crystals that developed over time as the Obsidian turns from glass to rock.

Answer: Gable mask from Papua New Guinea. These masks are placed on the eaves of Middle Sepik ceremonial houses. These houses represent a mythical woman who is the origin of all life and protects the inhabitants of the house. The building itself is her body and the gable mask represents her face.

Answer: Chinese pangolin, also known as Manis pentadactyla. Despite their scaly appearance, pangolins are mammals; this one is part of the Burke's mammalogy collection.

So, how'd you do?
Posted by: Julia Swan, Communications