Friday, February 16, 2024

The Burke Nearly to Ourselves


2/14/24 Mastodon replica, Burke Museum

2/14/24 Columbian Mammoth

The last time USk Seattle met at the Burke Museum was right before the pandemic hit, so it was high time for us to visit again. I started on the top floor where all the paleontology labs are and some of the museum’s best specimens, like the Columbian Mammoth. I’ve sketched it from the other side before, so this time I focused on the skull and those incredibly long tusks (at left).

Next I looked through one of the lab windows to sketch a grizzly bear skull (below). A former Woodland Park Zoo resident, the bear was being cleaned and preserved.

2/14/24 Grizzly bear skull

My last stop was the Mastodon replica. The first time I sketched it was from the staircase above. Spotting Janet in a corner, I went to the opposite side of the gallery so that I could capture her in the composition and show the scale of the enormous beast (top of post).

On most visits, the museum has been filled with young students on field trips. On this Wednesday afternoon, we sketchers had the place nearly to ourselves, which was an unusual treat. The Burke is back on our list as a winter-weather standby!


  1. How great that you nearly had the place to yourselves. The sketches are great, especially the one of the large mastodon. I missed our last visit to the Museum of Natural History due to my really bad cough. I would have headed right up to the dinosaur rooms.

    1. The dinosaurs are always my favorite part of natural history museums!


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