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New Burke Museum builds priceless connections to our people and our past

Last week marked the opening of the new Burke Museum, a beautiful and innovative home for this priceless public resource, which is so integral to our campus and state. I had the great honor of participating in the ribbon cutting for the new building, which was designed by University of Washington alumnus Tom Kundig, ’77, ’81. I’m grateful to all the people, including elected officials, tribal leaders, donors, UW Regents, Burke staff and volunteers, who helped the new Burke become a reality.The Lummi Canoe Family perform during New Burke Member & Donor Day.

When you enter the Burke, it quickly becomes clear how this space will advance and transform the way visitors experience and interact with the art, natural history, culture and research on display. Light-filled galleries bring you face to face with imposing fossils, hands-on exhibits and soaring works of art. Visitors can watch working research labs, experience one-of-a-kind performances and connect with some of the millions of objects in the Burke’s vast collections.

The new museum also creates new opportunities to preserve, explore and connect with our state’s tribal communities and cultures, both past and present. This work is especially meaningful as we celebrate our Native American community and reckon honestly with our past.

For a great public university like the UW, the Burke is a vital bridge connecting our core mission of education and discovery to the public. Each year, the Burke introduces thousands of K-12 students to the intersections of Washington’s cultural and natural history. The new Buke will be able to accommodate even more student groups, creating more opportunities for young people in our state to get curious, explore and be inspired.

In the years to come, we all have so much to learn and experience through this precious resource. I encourage everyone to visit this Pacific Northwest gem.

Photos by Andrew Waits, Courtesy of the Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture