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Burke Museum will close out old building and 2018 at the same time

The old Burke’s last hurrah will be a New Years Eve party

The new Burke Museum is set to open in 2019.
Courtesy of Burke Museum

The Burke Museum, a natural history museum on the University of Washington (UW) campus, has officially outgrown its old space. Fortunately, it has a brand-new, Olson Kundig-designed facility to move into—but that means time is running out for its current home, built in 1962. Visitors will only be able to visit the old building through the end of 2018, right up to the last second. (Okay, plus an hour into 2019.)

The last week of the year, December 26 through 30, the Burke is celebrating the old building’s final week with free admission, craft projects, and special exhibits, culminating in a giant New Years Eve bash December 31.

The Burke’s last week gives people a last chance to check out the old museum for free, rather than pay the normal $10 admission. Activities include a giant, collaborative paint-by-numbers; dino dress-up; open-door paleontology labs for an up-close view of fossils; and a yearbook to sign.

The big New Years Eve sendoff, which costs $40 to $60, depending on whether you’re a member and when you buy tickets, dolls up the space with sound and visuals from Love City Love. Soon-to-be-former exhibit spaces will be activated with DJs, live art and dance, spoken word, live music, and tap dance. Seattle Design Nerds will be collecting new years resolutions. And, of course, there’s a champagne toast at midnight.

Starting in 2019, the old facility will be closed forever—and eventually demolished. But the brand-new building will open in the fall of 2019, with more space for the literally millions of artifacts that the Burke stores, studies, and stewards. It’s also easier on the collection, with better climate control and equipment, and thanks to a window for watching researchers, visitors will have a more interactive view of the collection not normally on display.