Burke Museum Association 


The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is responsible for Washington State collections of natural and cultural heritage and sharing the knowledge that makes them meaningful. The Burke welcomes a broad and diverse audience and provides a community gathering place that nurtures life-long learning and encourages respect, responsibility, and reflection. Public services include exhibits and education for all ages - on Native art, environmental science, and other topics in geology, biology, and anthropology.

Mission Statement
The Burke Museum inspires people to value the connection between all life -- and act accordingly.
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Burke Museum Association
Box 353010 
(206) 543-5590 

Dr. Julie K. Stein 
Executive Director 


Burke Museum Association Programs

Long-term exhibits explore the cultural traditions, natural history, and biological diversity of our state. Special exhibits address a dynamic array of topics, from ethnic arts to climate change.  

Programs for schools include hands-on discovery tours, traveling study boxes, teacher workshops, classroom-based outreach programs, summer camps, and more! Lifelong learning opportunities range from family events such as Dinosaur Day and Coast Salish Art Celebration, to lectures, field trips, and an information-rich website.

Collections and Research
The Burke is home to nationally ranked collections and research in each of its divisions—from Northwest Native art to genetics. The Burke collection includes more than 16 million objects and specimens.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Last year, Burke researchers identified the Northwest Native mask that inspired the original 1976 Seahawks logo and traced its journey from the Northwest around the globe. With the support of community donors, the museum brought the mask to Seattle for public display and celebration. 

Funding is needed to create exhibits and provide free and low-cost education programs for schools and communities throughout Washington. 


The Burke Museum is the Washington State Museum of natural history and cultural heritage.

The Burke has an excellent reputation but is not well known throughout the community. Under Julie Stein's leadership there has been a commitment to develop and present more exhibits and new content on a more regular basis. She is a strong leader for the Burke and provides a bridge between the academic and public worlds. She clearly articulates the Burke’s vision to help people understand our role in nature, and link people to the environment.

Proven Success
The Burke has a unique niche among cultural institutions and creates exhibits and educational programs that cross boundaries and draw connections between art and science, nature and culture, and past and present.

Their membership is growing and they are seeing an increase in attendance for on-site and outreach programs. In assessing admissions to other comparable organizations The Burke realized that their admissions were under the market average. July 1st they are increasing admission from $9.50 to $10.00 and increasing family memberships from $55 a year to $75. They are offering families the option to sign up now for two years at the current rate. They haven’t increases family memberships for 12 years.

The Burke is closely connected to the University of Washington. There are many benefits to being located on the university campus in close proximity to scholars and students, but there are also drawbacks that include little outside foot traffic, low visibility to off-campus audiences, and the perpetuation of the Burke’s reputation as an institution solely for the use and benefit of the campus. This relationship will continue to be nurtured and developed to promote the benefits for the Burke.

The Burke partners with teachers and schools to plan and develop K-12 educational programs; collaborates with other museums and educational organizations to present workshops for teachers; contributes to other community cultural events and presents educational programs at public libraries and numerous other partner venues.

Last year they completed an “impact Planning” process – a strategic planning process that begins with the identification of the institution’s core audiences and the impact they hope to achieve with each. The process provided them with a clearer focus on the services they provide and the results they aspire to achieve. The work is guiding further strategic planning that is currently underway.

They are exploring ways to raise their profile and increase awareness of the museum and broaden its audiences. They are working on a website project as well as a major marketing and awareness campaign with the goal of strengthening public use of museum resources.

Financial Health
The Burke has experienced impacts of the shifts in the economy. Their endowment income is down and state funding received through the University of Washington continues to be cut. They reduced staff in 2010 as well as made cuts in other expenses. They have diverse sources of revenue and have seen increases in admissions and gifts.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

9/10/2013 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2012 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2010 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/17/2008 $20,000.00support general operating expenses.
10/5/2006 $20,000.00purchase audio visual equipment and to support general operating expenses.


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