The Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture is the oldest public museum in Washington State with a collection of over 16 million artifacts and specimens, ranging from totem poles and gemstones to dinosaur fossils. The mission of The Burke Museum is to care for and share natural and cultural collections so all people can learn, be inspired, generate knowledge, feel joy, and heal. Because the Burke’s collection is so wide-ranging and continues to grow, the new building needed to serve as a coherent, effective container that would allow for flexibility over time.
In 2019, the Burke re-opened after being completely renovated and reimagined from the inside out. Designed by world-renowned Seattle-based firm Olson Kundig and built by Skanska, the new Burke Museum features brand new exhibits, research facilities, and a new approach to discovery and learning about our history and heritage in the Pacific Northwest. One key design goal for the building was to create maximum transparency, making every part of the Burke exposed and part of the visitor experience. Installed by Sessler, Inc. the Kebony Character Cladding encompassing the museum provides a natural and inviting exterior that speaks to The Burke Museum’s core values of environmental stewardship and excellence.