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Sunday, November 17, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Burke Museum celebrates the Native American arts

Seattle Times staff reporter

Out of Silence exhibit


The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The Out of the Silence exhibit will be there until next Sept. 1. General admission is $8, $6.50 for seniors, $5 for youth, and free for children under 5, Burke members, and UW students, faculty and staff.

Rainy weather helped draw a crowd of nearly 800 inside the Burke Museum for the Native American Arts Celebration yesterday.

It highlighted the Out of the Silence totem-pole exhibit that runs through next Sept. 1.

The one-day festival, held entirely indoors, gave the community a chance to meet local artists, said Burke Museum curator Robin Wright.

Performances and activities ranging from drum-making to storytelling and dancing spiced up the event for children, who watched as the Northwest Inupiaq Dancers performed traditional dances to the rhythm of skin drums and rattles made of metal beads, shells and deer hooves.

"Those kids were so good today," said Donna Huff-Ahvakana, dancer and elder, who was pleased to see such respectful attention in the younger audience members.

"It's too rainy for the zoo," said Nathan Kingsbury. With kids Noah, Rowan and Hannah, ages 5, 3 and 1 respectively, he and his wife, Sheila, were doing their best to make culture fun for their young brood.

"Here's something you can touch," said Kingsbury, kneeling at a mask display.

Downstairs, children and parents were trying their hands at using crayons instead of carving tools. Although there was a choice of projects to make, most were decorating bird masks to wear on their heads. They took design cues from the nearby potlatch display.

"If you're just walking around a museum, kids get bored," said Melissa Ritchie of Federal Way, watching as her son, Scott Ritchie, 9, colored a bold green eye on his mask.

"I think this is really good for the kids."

But it wasn't just children who were taken with the activities.

"My grandpa's interested in carving a totem pole," Scott said.

Sarah Anne Wright: swright@seattletimes.com

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