Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Established: 1885 in Seattle
Head count: More than 15 million artifacts and specimens on display and in the archives
Beyond the fossils: Seattle is a fine — if somewhat underrated — museum town and the Burke Museum, the state of Washington’s oldest and the only major natural history museum in the Pacific Northwest, is amongst the finest.
And, yes, there’s a decent paleontological collection to be found at the Burke, but the main draw of the museum is, hands down, the ethnology division and its staggering stockpile of Native American art and artifacts (it’s the fifth largest in the United States) including the world-renowned Northwest Coast and Alaskan Arctic collections. And visitors with a keen interest in fish, birds, mushrooms, reptiles and gemstones will not be disappointed after spending an afternoon spent wandering the halls of the Burke.