Beneski Museum of Natural History - Amherst College

Beneski Museum of Natural History - Amherst College The history of life on earth from bacteria - worms - fish - reptiles - dinosaurs - to the great mammals of the ice age.
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Did you know that the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks is housed at Amherst College in the Beneski Museum of Natural History? The Museum offers opportunities for families and students to learn about the natural history of the Pioneer Valley and many other parts of the world. There are over 1,700 specimens (including skeletons of a mammoth, cave bear, and saber-tooth cat, and skulls of a tyrannosaurus rex and a triceratops!), some from as far away as Patagonia, housed at the Museum, along with several collections, including anthropology, ichnology, meteorites, mineralogy, osteology, paleobotany and taxidermy.

Mission: “… preserving and interpreting the physical evidence of the geological history of the Earth, the evolutionary history of its inhabitants, and the processes that have shaped both through time...”

Mead Art Museum
02/04/2020
Mead Art Museum

Mead Art Museum

Attn. Amherst College students:The Amherst College Museums Summer Internship Program application is LIVE!

Are you curious about the way museums work? Passionate about the arts, public history, and natural history? Apply now for a PAID internship at one of Amherst College's museums. The Mead is excited to team up with Beneski Museum of Natural History - Amherst College and Emily Dickinson Museum for another great summer!

Applications are due by Monday, March 2, 2020. Click the link below to learn more & apply!

https://amherst.joinhandshake.com/jobs/3529497/share_preview

Happy halloween from our spooky gibbon (left) and chimpanzee (right) skeletons!
10/31/2019

Happy halloween from our spooky gibbon (left) and chimpanzee (right) skeletons!

It’s National Fossil Day! Discovered in South Hadley, MA in 1802, the tracks on ACM ICH 16/2 are the earliest documented...
10/16/2019

It’s National Fossil Day! Discovered in South Hadley, MA in 1802, the tracks on ACM ICH 16/2 are the earliest documented footprints in eastern North America. This slab was used as a doorstep and thought to be bird tracks hence the name Noah’s Raven. #nationalfossilday

Today is National Fossil Day! "Paleontology is the backstory to what’s happening today. We have a responsibility to pres...
10/16/2019

Today is National Fossil Day! "Paleontology is the backstory to what’s happening today. We have a responsibility to present that science to the nation...and to make clear the implications for the future.” - Kirk Johnson AC '82, Paleobotanist and Sant Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

"Paleontology is the backstory to what’s happening today. We have a responsibility to present that science to the nation...and to make clear the implications for the future.” - Kirk Johnson, Paleobotanist and Sant Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History #DeepTime #NationalFossilDay

06/07/2019
Mammoth tusk timelapse

The tusks have left the building! Our mammoth tusks collected in the 19th century are traveling to Canada for conservation at @ResearchCasting and will go back on exhibit in August.

Referred to as “the gem of the Cabinet because everything is so distinct”, Edward Hitchcock prized this specimen of dist...
01/25/2019

Referred to as “the gem of the Cabinet because everything is so distinct”, Edward Hitchcock prized this specimen of distinctive footprints. The large slab makes it easy to see clear pad and claw impressions. Pretty remarkable considering it was part of a Middletown, CT sidewalk for 60 years! #fossilfriday #ichnology #dinosaur #trackways #beneski

Beneski Museum of Natural History - Amherst College's cover photo
01/14/2019

Beneski Museum of Natural History - Amherst College's cover photo

What better way to spend part of your birthday but with a Smilodon californicus or the "Smiley cat from California".
01/03/2019

What better way to spend part of your birthday but with a Smilodon californicus or the "Smiley cat from California".

This specimen, a large footprint of Eubrontes giganteus, is the earliest example of this type of trackway ever found. Ma...
09/07/2018

This specimen, a large footprint of Eubrontes giganteus, is the earliest example of this type of trackway ever found. Many trackways were discovered in the region by Edward Hitchcock. This particular slab came from what is now the Dinosaur Footprint Reservation in Holyoke, MA in 1835! #fossilfriday #naturalhistory #beneskimuseum #ichnology #dinosaur #trackways #footprints

Fossil Friday - What might this image of a Domestic Dog  (Canis lupus familaris) skeleton also look like?
08/24/2018

Fossil Friday - What might this image of a Domestic Dog (Canis lupus familaris) skeleton also look like?

Summer at the Beneski Museum - Thank you to the Daily Hamphsire Gazette Staffer Vivian Myron
07/31/2018

Summer at the Beneski Museum - Thank you to the Daily Hamphsire Gazette Staffer Vivian Myron

July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018 Annual AttendanceThe visitor attendance of the Beneski Museum of Natural History includes: ...
07/23/2018

July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018 Annual Attendance

The visitor attendance of the Beneski Museum of Natural History includes: casual visitors, scheduled group/class visits, admission tours and special events/receptions. Combined the museum will annually host 30-40,000 guests. In FY18 the museum hosted 24,658 casual visitors. Scheduled PK16 group/class visits account for nearly 8,000 of the museum’s casual visitor count. We saw an additional 3,000 visitors during special events/receptions. And finally, campus admission tours account for a bit over 16,000 guests each year. The total casual visitors + admission guests for FY18 was just over 40,000 visitors. In FY17 we hosted about 35,000 visitors.

A recent visit to the Wolansky Gallery
07/17/2018

A recent visit to the Wolansky Gallery

01/19/2018

It is that time of the year again to welcome back our students for the Spring 2018 semester.

“Identify it Day”Sunday November 5 (1-4PM) Is there a mysterious fossil that you found while backpacking, or a picture o...
10/12/2017

“Identify it Day”Sunday November 5 (1-4PM)

Is there a mysterious fossil that you found while backpacking, or a picture of the bizarre bird in your backyard? Bring in your fossils, seashells, rocks, meteorites, feathers, leaves, or photographs of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, flowers, and insects to the Museum. Scientists will attempt to identify your discoveries while showing you some specimens from the Beneski’s greater collections. Stop by, with or without mystery objects, to see (and touch) the scientific specimens out on display. Items identified in previous years have included a dinosaur footprint, the hip of a very large pig, an amazing man-made slag crystal and an ancient arrowhead from the Connecticut River Valley.

Peter Crowley, geology professor notes,

"The history of the Earth is long and interesting, so there is a good story behind everything that you find. If you tell us the story about how and where you found it, we can complete the story and tell you what it is and how it formed. It is fun and exciting because you never know what people are going to bring in”

Monday Morning With Mammoth and many more
08/14/2017

Monday Morning With Mammoth and many more

Beneski Museum of Natural History - Amherst College's cover photo
03/17/2017

Beneski Museum of Natural History - Amherst College's cover photo

A busy day at the Museum
03/17/2017

A busy day at the Museum

Amherst College Spanish Class - developing dinosaur stories in Spanish
03/17/2017

Amherst College Spanish Class - developing dinosaur stories in Spanish

With more than 1,700 specimens, the Beneski is one of New England’s largest natural history museums.  At the museum, you...
12/20/2016

With more than 1,700 specimens, the Beneski is one of New England’s largest natural history museums. At the museum, you can get close to real fossils, as paleontologist Margery Coombs, one of the many professors whose discoveries we’ve got on display. Dig deep into the rich past of life on Earth and find out where life began and how it has changed over time.

We had a question about Edward Hitchcock the 3rd president of the college and the scientist who developed the science di...
12/20/2016

We had a question about Edward Hitchcock the 3rd president of the college and the scientist who developed the science discipline of Ichnology. The image is courtesy of the Mead Museum of Art @ Amherst College.

11/22/2016

Thanksgiving weekend hours Friday 11-4 & Sat/Sun 10-5

Program Begins Friday May 27 @ 1PM Morgan Hall
05/26/2016

Program Begins Friday May 27 @ 1PM Morgan Hall

Tour begins Thur. May 26th at 10:30AM
05/26/2016

Tour begins Thur. May 26th at 10:30AM

Sunday November 22 @ 4PMSpringfield Symphony HallDinosaur Hunter Paul SerenoA family-friendly event about adventures in ...
11/19/2015

Sunday November 22 @ 4PM
Springfield Symphony Hall
Dinosaur Hunter Paul Sereno

A family-friendly event about adventures in paleontology

Paul Sereno earned a doctorate in geology at Columbia University. In 1987, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, where he teaches paleontology, evolution, and anatomy.

Discoverer of dinosaurs on five continents and leader of dozens of expeditions, Sereno’s fieldwork began in 1988 in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina, where his team discovered the first dinosaurs to roam the Earth, including the most primitive of all, Eoraptor. This work culminated in the most complete picture yet of the dawn of the dinosaur era, some 225 million years ago.

In the early 1990s his expeditions shifted to the Sahara to unearth Africa’s lost world of dinosaurs. Here, Sereno’s teams have excavated more than 70 tons of dinosaur fossils from rocks dating from the Cretaceous period. These include plant-eaters like Nigersaurus and Jobaria, meat-eaters like Afrovenator, Deltadromeus, Rugops, the huge-clawed fish-eater Suchomimus, the huge Tyrannosaurus-size Carcharodontosaurus, and a series of crocs including the 40-foot-long “SuperCroc” (Sarcosuchus), the world’s largest crocodile.

An expedition in 2001 took Sereno and his team to western and central India. In Mumbai (Bombay), they later unveiled the Asian continent’s first dinosaur skull, belonging to a new predator named Rajasaurus. Also in 2001 Sereno began an ongoing series of expeditions to China, first exploring remote areas of the Gobi in Inner Mongolia and discovering a herd of more than 20 dinosaurs that died in their tracks. Sereno’s current expeditions in China target Tibet, the last unexplored fragment of the ancient southern landmass Gondwana.

The author of books and articles in National Geographic and Natural History magazines and the subject of many documentaries, Sereno’s recognitions include the Chicago Tribune‘s Teacher of the Year Award (1993), Chicago magazine’s Chicagoan of the Year (1996), Newsweek magazine’s The Century Club (1997), People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People (1997), Esquire‘s 100 Best People in the World (1997), Boston Museum of Science’s Walker Prize for extraordinary contributions in paleontology (1997), and Columbia University’s University Medal for Excellence (1999).

Sereno is also co-founder of Project Exploration, a nonprofit outreach organization dedicated to bringing discoveries in natural science to the public and providing innovative educational opportunities for city kids.

So many amazing things were brought into the Annual event...
11/19/2015

So many amazing things were brought into the Annual event...

So many amazing things were brought into the Annual event...

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Then & Now: The Changing Arctic Landscape—a traveling exhibition from the Univer...
02/19/2015

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Then & Now: The Changing Arctic Landscape—a traveling exhibition from the University of Alaska Museum of the North—speaks volumes about glacial retreat and the consequences of climate change in the Alaskan Arctic.

On view at Amherst College’s Beneski Museum of Natural History through April 19, 2015, Then & Now features photographs and media presentations that illustrate the startling effects of climate change, provide context about the Arctic ecosystem and illuminate the behind-the-photo stories of the consequences of climate change for Arctic indigenous peoples.
“The Beneski Museum has an impressive permanent display of large ice-age mammals—the mammoth and the mastodon, for example—that became extinct with the warming climate and receding continental ice sheets tens of thousands of years ago,” says Tekla Harms, Beneski Museum director and the College’s Massachusetts Professor in Chemistry and Natural History (Geology). “Then & Now helps us see how that process is continuing today with melting of the grand mountain glaciers in Alaska.”

The 23 large-format photographs hang on two floors of the museum, offering “before-and-after” views of the Alaskan Arctic by placing decades-old photos alongside contemporary images taken from the same vantage points. The result is a stunning reminder of the effects of climate change.

The two images pictured above, for example, illustrate that Alaska’s McCall Glacier has thinned considerably since 1973; one cirque glacier (right) has shrunk, and another (left) has disappeared completely.

The exhibition also includes a series of thought-provoking quote panels and presentations that provide visitors with an understanding of the deep cultural connection that Arctic indigenous residents have to this fragile land.

Museum of the North guest curator and ecologist Ken Tape, whose book The Changing Arctic Landscape inspired the exhibit, has been studying and photographing the Arctic for over a decade. “A visitor to the Arctic might be struck by the apparent timelessness and constancy of the place,” he says, “but that impression is misleading.” Tape’s images of the past and present lead one to wonder what these landscapes might look like in the future.

Teeth as seen through the eyes of Rislat Khan former Museum docent.
12/03/2014

Teeth as seen through the eyes of Rislat Khan former Museum docent.

Some excellent images taken by Maggie Chrisman recently graduated Amherst College Beneski Museum Docent.
12/03/2014

Some excellent images taken by Maggie Chrisman recently graduated Amherst College Beneski Museum Docent.

Meat-eating carnivores need sharp nipping incisors, piercing canines and slicing premolar/molar teeth, called carnassial...
12/03/2014

Meat-eating carnivores need sharp nipping incisors, piercing canines and slicing premolar/molar teeth, called carnassials.

The Pyrotherium sorondoi found in Rio Chico del Chubut, Argentina during the Amherst College Expedition of 1911 dates ba...
07/10/2014

The Pyrotherium sorondoi found in Rio Chico del Chubut, Argentina during the Amherst College Expedition of 1911 dates back nearly 25 million years and is part of our collection of more than 1,700 specimens of plants, animals, rocks, fossils, and artifacts from all over the world and across time.

Margery Coombs - Vertebrate Paleontologist has been busy this past month making her way through our extensive collection...
07/02/2014

Margery Coombs - Vertebrate Paleontologist has been busy this past month making her way through our extensive collection sharing her insights.

Beneski Museum is now on Twitter! Follow us @BeneskiMuseum!
06/25/2014
Beneski Museum (BeneskiMuseum) on Twitter

Beneski Museum is now on Twitter! Follow us @BeneskiMuseum!

The latest from Beneski Museum (@BeneskiMuseum). Open Tue - Fri 11-4 & Sat - Sun 10-5. Amherst College, MA

The Pinguinus impennis or Great Auk of Funk Island Newfoundland, Canada became extinct during the Holocene some165 years...
03/11/2014

The Pinguinus impennis or Great Auk of Funk Island Newfoundland, Canada became extinct during the Holocene some165 years ago. The skull pictured is one of the 1,700 specimens of plants, animals, rocks, fossils, and artifacts on display from all over the world and across time.

Imagine what this little guy could eat!
01/14/2014

Imagine what this little guy could eat!

01/14/2014

Amherst Cinema Presents GROUNDHOG DAY
With Physics Professor Kannan Jagannathan
Discussing Time Travel and the Laws of Physics

~ Part of Science On Screen Film Series ~

Time travel has been imagined in many popular works of fiction. But what do the laws of physics have to say about the concept?

Amherst Cinema invites you to explore a physicist’s view of time with Dr. Kannan Jagannathan of Amherst College at our Monday, February 3 screening of the hit comedy GROUNDHOG DAY.

The evening is part of the Amherst Cinema’s SCIENCE ON SCREEN series, a national initiative that pairs film with lively introductions by experts in science, medicine and technology, providing an opportunity to explore and think about science in new ways.

In the film, Bill Murray stars as an arrogant, self-centered TV weatherman who is given a hated assignment covering Groundhog Day. He finds himself stuck in a time loop, living the same day over and over. At first, Connors uses the phenomenon to his advantage, but soon becomes despondent, trying more and more drastic (and comedic) actions in an attempt to end the time loop.

Professor Jagannathan will introduce the film and discuss time travel and the laws of physics as featured (and violated!) in the film. Professor Jagannathan has been teaching at Amherst College since 1981. His background is in theoretical physics, in particular quantum physics and relativity.

GROUNDHOG DAY (1993, Directed by Harold Ramis, Rated PG), Monday Feb. 3 at 7:00 pm, Amherst Cinema. Tickets at the Amherst Cinema box office, or online www.amherstcinema.org. Regular admission.

Trailer: http://amherstcinema.org/node/1304

For info about future Science on Screen programs at Amherst Cinema: http://amherstcinema.org/node/1304
If you’d like to be removed from this special Science on Screen email list, please contact me ( [email protected] ). We do not share email lists.

Science on Screen is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

This is just a sampling of what one can witness at the Benseki Museum of Natural History - Amherst College
10/29/2013

This is just a sampling of what one can witness at the Benseki Museum of Natural History - Amherst College

This is just a sampling of what one can witness at the Benseki Museum of Natural History - Amherst College

(1)   SATURDAY NOVEMBER 9TH is the 17th annual Pioneer Valley Institute Gem, Mineral, Rock and Fossil Show and Sale It's...
10/29/2013

(1) SATURDAY NOVEMBER 9TH is the 17th annual Pioneer Valley Institute Gem, Mineral, Rock and Fossil Show and Sale

It's at Greenfield Community College's new Dining Commons in the Main Building. (If you haven't been to GCC, don't worry. You won't get lost! Also, our newly reconstructed Core area with the Dining Commons is just beautiful.) The show opens at 9:30 and runs to 4 pm.
ADMISSION IS FREE!
Besides geological specimens from around the world, come and see jewelry, beads, cabochons, and many other "gems" from the earth. Talented local artisans have crafted many items. Come see their work!
Besides the Show, we have the JURASSIC ROADSHOW, too! Come and see specimens from our Connecticut Valley and talk to the expert collectors. Bring in your specimens for identification. On display: an amazingly preserved baby dinoprint. You can also take a tour of the GCC Rock Park at the rear of the Main Building.

At 1:00 Historian Bob Herbert will present a program on ROSWELL FIELD the owner of the famous Barton Cove dinosaur footprint quarry where so many Amherst College Hitchcock specimens were collected. This man, now mostly forgotten, was an important layman-scientist who met and corresponded with many world-famous scientists. You can see the whole Bob Herbert journal article here:http://www.gillmass.org/pdfs/2013-Robert-Herbert-Roswell-Field.pdf

Address

1 Barrett Hill Rd
Amherst, MA
01002-5000

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(413) 542-5054

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The Depth of our collections

The extensive and diverse collections at the Beneski Museum are the result of the work of faculty, students and alumni over the course of the College’s history, derived from expeditions, donations and exchanges.

The physical and biological sciences have been a vital part of the Amherst College curriculum from the time of its founding 1821. Providing natural history specimens for direct hands-on study has been an integral component of teaching, learning and research in the sciences ever since.

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