Pratt Museum of Natural History

The Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College is located on the campus of Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. It showcases fossils and minerals collected locally and abroad, many by past and present students and professors. The Museum is located in the Beneski Earth Sciences Building, completed in 2006. It is a member of Museums10.HistoryThe Beneski Museum of Natural History's collection dates back to the earliest days of the College. Edward Hitchcock, who joined the faculty in 1825 and served as the third president of Amherst College from 1845–1854, was deeply interested in the sciences and encouraged alumni to send back scientific specimens from all over the world. During his presidency, Hitchock raised funds for the building of the Octagon, the first home of Amherst's natural history collection. In 1855, the College built Appleton Cabinet with a donation from Samuel Appleton to house the Hitchcock Ichnological Cabinet, the Gilbert Museum of Indian Relics, and the Adams Zoological Museum.The College's collections moved from various campus buildings to the former Pratt Gymnasium in the 1940s, creating the Pratt Museum of Natural History. The collection was moved to its current location in the Beneski Earth Sciences Building in 2006.Today the Museum houses roughly 200,000 objects, including the College's historic Hitchcock Ichnological Cabinet of more than 1,700 slabs containing dinosaur footprints, one of the largest in the world - and one largely collected by Hitchcock himself. The collection also includes the world-famous "Noah's Raven," tracks discovered in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1802 that constitute the first dinosaur fossil to be collected in North America — 40 years before dinosaurs were even recognized as a distinct fossil group. Researchers from all over the world come to use the Museum's collections in their work.

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Amherst Center, MA
01002

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