Help return a Native American story pole home!

Burke Museum Association

100% of $7,500
$0 of $7,500 to go
Terms and Conditions

About This Project

How do you mail a 37-foot Totem Pole?

With a flatbed truck - and your help! 

The Burke Museum has a unique opportunity to bring a truly remarkable object back to the Northwest. Carved by renowned artist and Snohomish Tribe leader William Shelton, this Coast Salish story pole was commissioned for Krape Park in Freeport, Illinois, in October of 1935, where it stood for more than sixty years before it fell into such severe disrepair that it had to be removed. 

The Freeport Park District debated what to do with the decaying pole, ultimately deciding the Burke's large Northwest Coast collection, expertise, and connection to the artist's region made it the perfect place for the new pole. But, how do we get it here?

Your donation will help us bring the pole home to the Northwest. It will be transported from Illinois in a forty-foot-long crate on the back of a flat-bed trailer. Upon its arrival in Seattle, it will need to be fumigated immediately so that only the pole - not the bugs living in it - take up permanent residence in our collection. Only then can the process of restoration begin.

Getting to Seattle is the first step in a much longer journey for the pole, but this new phase of its history can’t begin without your help.

Every object has a story -  we hope you will be part of this one!

Project Budget:
$6,000 – crating and cross-country transportation 
$1,000 – fumigation costs
$500 – administrative fees

Donor Benefits

  • All donors will receive two travelogue updates from the story pole's journey across the country.
  • Donors of $100+ will receive a complimentary Burke Museum Family membership. (Burke memberships are 100% tax deductible.)
  • Donors of $250+ will also be invited to a homecoming party for the pole, where the Burke's totem pole expert and Curator of Native American Art, Robin K. Wright, along with contemporary Coast Salish artist Shaun Peterson, will share the cultural and historical significance of Shelton's work and the work of similar artists.