I worked with staff and scientists at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the campus of the University of Washington to develop Imagine That!—an exhibit about the “behind the scenes” work of research museums like the Burke. Development of this exhibit included interviews with the Burke’s curators and other affiliated scientists about their research and writing labels for related artifacts that would answer visitor’s questions and spark their curiosity.
The exhibit opened April 12, 2014.
Like most museums, the Burke displays only a tiny portion of its collections in galleries. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, rows and rows of shelves hold an astounding variety of objects related to natural history and human culture—baskets and beetles, hummingbirds and hammerhead sharks, masks and mammoths.
It makes you wonder: Why do museums have all these things? Where did they come from? What are they used for?