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. Did you know that the earliest 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...”

Operating as usual

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History
11/05/2020

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

Join us for 10 days of fossil fun as we celebrate our annual Family Fossil Festival ONLINE!

From November 7-17, we're offering digital programs and activities with paleontologists, fossil preparators, educators, and artists. #FossilFest

Register here: https://s.si.edu/fossilkids

Amherst College Library
10/30/2020

Amherst College Library

What's your favorite archives-inspired Halloween costume? Emily will go first:

(shout out to our Arts & Humanities librarian, Sara Smith, for creating this gem!)

Our knowledgable students have been hosting virtual "Fossil Friday" tours for the Amherst College community. Beneski Mus...
10/20/2020

Our knowledgable students have been hosting virtual "Fossil Friday" tours for the Amherst College community. Beneski Museum is currently open to AC students as a study space Sunday-Thursday from 5-10pm.

From outdoor classes to music rehearsals and museum visits, here is a photographic glimpse into life on campus this semester. https://bit.ly/31qzlD5

10/14/2020
National Fossil Day at Beneski

Today is National Fossil Day! Take a quick tour of a fossil favorite in our special collections room. A croc relative, tiny Stegomosuchus lived about 200 million years ago in the Connecticut River Valley. Although only known from these blocks, it likely was a track maker of certain fossil footprints in our collections, alongside the dinosaurs. #nationalfossilday

Amherst College
10/14/2020

Amherst College

It's official: Happy Mammoth Day!

Classes are canceled today, Oct. 14, to give students a much-needed break before the weather turns cold. Organized activities on this first-ever Mammoth Day include hikes on the sanctuary trails, music and games on the Quad, and games and entertainment for remote students, all produced within the College's health and safety protocols.

Western Science Center
10/14/2020

Western Science Center

Tomorrow is National Fossil Day! Our "Let's Tour!" livestream event, organized in partnership with the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, begins at 8am Pacific Time and then we'll be virtually visiting our friends at other museums every hour. Be sure to stick around because we'll have a Q&A with our virtual hosts at their museums at the end of each tour.

Got questions, but can't make the livestreams? Send us your questions in the comments.

All livestreams will be recorded and will be immediately available for viewing on our YouTube channel following the live portion.

Watch or set a reminder for each virtual tour here: https://www.youtube.com/c/AlfMuseumPaleo

Amherst College
10/12/2020

Amherst College

In honor of #IndigenousPeoplesDay, we recognize that Amherst College stands on Nonotuck land.

Today and every day, we must celebrate and honor their history. Take an opportunity to learn more about the Nonotuck: https://bit.ly/3nEVmYd

Amherst College Facilities
08/25/2020

Amherst College Facilities

Beneski Museum of Natural History staff Fred Venne, Museum Educator, and Hayley Singleton, Head of Collections and Operations teamed with Facilities to create one of the cooler study spaces on campus! They are generously opening up their doors Sun-Thurs, 5pm-10pm for students looking for a place to study.

Because we can't celebrate the Class of 2020 in person this weekend, we're hoping our virtual fossils show how proud we ...
05/29/2020

Because we can't celebrate the Class of 2020 in person this weekend, we're hoping our virtual fossils show how proud we are of 2020 graduates. #Amherst2020 #WeAreMammoths #Amherstproud #FossilFriday #TusksUp

During quarantine, AC student and Beneski docent Jessica Yu '22 enjoys finding fossils in Animal Crossing like the Irish...
05/08/2020

During quarantine, AC student and Beneski docent Jessica Yu '22 enjoys finding fossils in Animal Crossing like the Irish Elk and Brontothere at Beneski! #wearemammoths #FossilFriday

04/24/2020
Amherst College

Amherst College

If you're wondering just how big a mammoth was, Hayley Singleton, head of collections and operations at the College's Beneski Museum of Natural History, can tell you. In this clip, she shows off the skeleton that was the inspiration for Amherst's mascot, and explains how its current home makes Amherst a great place to study. #tusksup

Is anyone else missing the herd? From our mammoth family to yours, we hope you are all staying well. #weareAmherst #foss...
04/24/2020

Is anyone else missing the herd? From our mammoth family to yours, we hope you are all staying well. #weareAmherst #fossilfriday #wearemammoths #amherstproud

Happy Earth Day from the Beneski Museum! During the 19th century, this area was a popular tourist destination and in 184...
04/22/2020

Happy Earth Day from the Beneski Museum! During the 19th century, this area was a popular tourist destination and in 1841 Hitchcock declared the CT river valley "some of the boldest and most beautiful scenery in the state." #EarthDay #EarthDay2020 #EarthDay50 #AmherstEarthDay

Amherst College Office of Environmental Sustainability
04/21/2020

Amherst College Office of Environmental Sustainability

Today is the start of our virtual #amherstearthday! This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and our goal is to gather 50 posts from our community. Share a picture, tweet, article, poem, story, or any other form of media that celebrates our earth and advocates for a sustainable and just future. Tag Amherst College Office of Environmental Sustainability and use the hashtag so we can tally them up. We will also be sharing some virtual events and other information throughout the week. Tagging some of our fellow Amherst College offices, departments, museums, and centers to join in: Science at Amherst College, Amherst College Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning, Amherst College Facilities, Amherst College Police, Amherst College Dining, The Writing Center at Amherst College, Amherst College Global Education Office, Amherst College Women's & Gender Center, Amherst College Queer Resource Center, Amherst College Center for International Student Engagement, Amherst College Center for Diversity & Student Leadership, Amherst College Multicultural Resource Center, The Amherst College Grants Office, CHI - The Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Beneski Museum of Natural History - Amherst College, Book & Plow Farm, Amherst College Student Activities

We're really looking forward to this #fossilfriday virtual talk tomorrow at noon! Hope to see you there.
04/09/2020

We're really looking forward to this #fossilfriday virtual talk tomorrow at noon! Hope to see you there.

Introducing Paleo Talks!

Hosted by ETSU paleontologists David & Blaine, with new guests and topics each week.

Anyone can join! Follow this link to the Zoom meeting: https://etsu.zoom.us/j/869754347

Have you ever seen the Diplodocus limbs on the ground floor? These limbs came via exchange with the AMNH in April 1914. ...
04/09/2020

Have you ever seen the Diplodocus limbs on the ground floor? These limbs came via exchange with the AMNH in April 1914. AC professor Frederic Loomis went to Wyoming on AMNH field expeditions and likely helped collect parts of this specimen. Loomis traded Patagonian fossils collected in 1911 to acquire these limbs.

We’re celebrating our 150th anniversary by publishing images from the Museum’s archives. So let’s jump back in time to 1916! The image below shows the assembling of a Diplodocus forelimb. This 13-ton (12,000 kg) herbivore presumably used its pencil-shaped teeth for nipping or stripping leaves or needles from trees. This sauropod has a particularly long history at the Museum. A Diplodocus fossil was the first dinosaur fossil ever excavated by Museum paleontologists, in 1897, at Como Bluff, Wyoming.
Photo: Image no. 35059 / © AMNH Library

04/03/2020
Western Science Center

Western Science Center

On this week's #FossilFriday chat we welcome Khanh To, a PhD student at Virginia Tech, as she helps us answer the question, "What are beaks?"

Join us on Facebook Live starting at 3pm Pacific Time!

Fossil Friday Chats is a brought to you by The Western Science Center and The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology.

#MuseumFromHome

Wade Institute for Science Education
03/20/2020

Wade Institute for Science Education

For hundreds of years, the Connecticut River has flowed through Pioneer Valley, shaping the land and life around it. Known for its basalt flows, mountain ranges, dinosaur footprints, and fertile soils, the Pioneer Valley exhibits a rich history of geologic change. Join our Pioneer Valley Region 5-Day Institute for Grades 4-8 Educators, “Rivers to Range: Exploring the Pioneer Valley (Integrating Science and Math),” to explore opportunities for integrating science and math as you learn about the geologic history of the Pioneer Valley.

Partners & Collaborators: Hitchcock Center for the Environment; Beneski Museum of Natural History - Amherst College; Springfield Museums; The Trustees

Dates: July 6-10, 2020

Pre-registration is now open! Explore graduate credit options and discounts for teacher teams, and sign up using the code “EARLYBIRD” for $25 off your registration at https://www.wadeinstitutema.org/spdi-k12.

Thanks to Sanofi Genzyme and National Grid for their generous support of this educator professional development opportunity.

The Museum is temporarily closed to the general public  March 9, 2020 - June 2020Amherst College is working to contain t...
03/10/2020
COVID-19 | News | Amherst College

The Museum is temporarily closed to the general public March 9, 2020 - June 2020

Amherst College is working to contain the spread of the coronavirus--both on our campus community and among the public. The Beneski Museum, Bassett Planetarium and Wilder Observatory are temporarily closed to the public while remaining open to support Amherst College’s internal academic functions. Beginning Monday, March 9 and until further notice, an Amherst College ID will be required for entry to the Museum. We therefore are writing to inform you that we must cancel your upcoming visit.

This change is being implemented, in close coordination with College leadership, to sustain the college’s teaching and research mission while taking measures to prevent the spread of the disease and ensure the well-being of our campus and community visitors, students, and staff.
We will update the community through the Bassett Planetarium home page and Beneski Museum homepage For the latest updates from Amherst College about its response to COVID-19, please visit

https://www.amherst.edu/news/covid-19.
We understand this news may bring disappointment. Please accept our gratitude for your understanding and support as we work to address this evolving issue. We look forward to welcoming the public back to the college as soon as we are able.

The purpose of this page is to keep the Amherst College community updated on the status of the global COVID-19 outbreak and how the College is anticipating and responding to its impact on our community. We continue to closely monitor the situation and are in constant contact with state and local pub...

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.

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Amherst, MA
01002-5000

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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.