Tuesday, November 5, 2019

New and Much Improved Burke Museum

11/1/19 Columbian mammoth exhibit, Burke Museum

The Burke Museum has been one of my favorite indoor locations for almost as long as I’ve been sketching. Whenever I got my car serviced nearby, I would dash over for an hour or so and sketch an artifact or two; I think I sketched almost all the large skeletons at least once, sometimes more, and some small fossils. The museum had been closed for about a year while its new facility was being completed and everything moved in, and I really missed it.

Who has a bigger mouth?
The new Burke finally reopened a few weeks ago, and the long wait was worth it! Spacious, well-lighted and with many more artifacts on display than they ever had room for before, the University of Washington’s world-class museum is three floors of natural and human history exhibits focused on the Pacific Northwest. What a sketcher’s delight!

Although my sketching interests tend to stay on the animal exhibits – what is it about drawing prehistoric skeletons that is so much fun!? – but the human history exhibits of native cultures are also fascinating.  

Last Friday’s visit was only a cursory run-through so I could plan future sketching objectives. I’ll be back again soon and often. Perhaps this winter wont be so hard to endure after all!

I recall sketching this stegosaur a few years ago and not being able to fit the whole thing in my sketchbook!

Paleontologists and other scientists at work are visible
in many areas.

Biology exhibit

Big bones!


  1. Wow! I know where you're going to spend the winter :-) I long for the days of regular trips to Ottawa where I could live in the National Natural History Museum. I bet it's good to be you :-)

    1. It won't be bad being me this winter! ;-) You'd especially appreciate all the natural light at the Burke... makes it so much easier to sketch when you can see both the exhibit and your sketchbook!

    2. I envy you. A couple years ago our museum seemed to change exhibit people or something and decisions were made to put the exhibits in the dark. Currently there are several skeletons in one of the exhibits that are so dark that it's hard to see them. Somehow this is supposed to be good :-(


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