Local Photographer Goes Behind the Scenes at the Burke Museum

burke museum bird specimens
From "Artifacts and Specimens," the photographer's series of images taken at the Burke Museum in Seattle

Did you know the Burke Museum at the University of Washington is home to 15 million specimens and artifacts, including over 150,000 spiders? Did you also know that when you find a spider in your house, putting it outside can be tantamount to killing it?

These are the weird things you learn when you let yourself fall down the fascinating rabbit hole that is the immense Reasearch & Collections area of the Burke Museum's website, which I was led to by way of this compelling series of photographs taken by local photographer Andrew Waits.

Despite their clinical surroundings (and the fact that they are dead), the animals in the photos look so dignified and beautiful.

Driven by a personal interest in natural history, which the native Northwesterner says was seeded by field trips to the Burke he took as a kid, Waits has been documenting the staff and collections at the Burke for over four years now. Much of what is depected in the photos is not currently on public display at the museum. Find more info and additional photos on his blog.

He has no plans to exhibit these currently. Hopefully that will change.