May 29, 2013

Museum Collections and the Story of Life on Earth

How do we really know what happened before we were here?

Objects are the key to understanding the story of life on earth. Many of us have personal collections that remind us of the past - people, places, and experiences. At the Burke Museum, we care for 15 million objects (and counting!) in our natural and cultural collections.

We gather and hold these objects as a record of nature and culture – and use them to generate new knowledge and celebrate our shared heritage (see some of these objects in our ever-growing Facebook album).

What can objects tell us about the world around us, and the life before us? These are the questions that motivate Burke researchers every day.

Watch this short video for a glimpse into our collections and the people who care for, and learn from, these objects to help better understand the world around us:

The New Burke
We're engaged in a multi-year transformation project that will culminate in a campaign for a new museum facility. The "New Burke" will be a flagship natural history museum that inspires wonder and pride about the Northwest and our place in the world.

Our goal is to take natural and cultural history out of the glass case and invite the public to seek, discover, and examine our ever-growing collections. Through the power of objects and their stories, the New Burke will inspire people to value their connection with all life—and act accordingly. Learn more at our website,

What do you think?
We'd love to hear what you think about natural and cultural history, collections, and the "New Burke." Tell us in the comments below.