Amherst College Museum of Natural History, Amherst

4.9
#3 of 16 in Things to do in Amherst
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.
For Amherst College Museum of Natural History and beyond, use our Amherst sightseeing planner to get the most from your Amherst vacation.
Source
Create an itinerary including Amherst College Museum of Natural History
map
Amherst College Museum of Natural History Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
80 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Lots of things packed into the museum. Workers very pleasant, informative and helpful. The collection of fossils impressive. The geology section good.. i spent a couple of hours exploring and learning...  more »
  • Surprised by the quality of the exhibits in this little museum housed in a modern building, particularly if fossils is your thing. Interesting notes, and do not forget the drawers that you can pull ou...  more »
  • I was wondering around Amherst and came across this museum quite by accident. What a treasure trove! I can't believe a university has such a collection. It's better than anything I've seen outside the...  more »
Google
  • Make sure you ask the staff questions! They are very knowledgeable and will blow you away with interesting information that is not on the placards.
  • This one location houses more knowledge than, let us say, Portland Oregon's OMSI. This while only operating under the umbrella of Natural History. Minus any dumbing down as well. The Beneski is an actual museum that sets about preserving fossilized specimens while maintaining and sharing the history of those who acquired this information. Give yourself several hours to take it all in and most definitely introduce yourself to the staff who can and will happily introduce you to all of the wonders contained therein at the Beneski!
  • Not only is the information on the website radically incorrect, it's also very difficult to find where you're supposed to go if it's your first time there. No signs anywhere, no free parking, no visit from me. Wasted so much time driving out here. Never going to attempt coming out again .
  • Wonderful museum. I've accompanied second grade classes there several times and it is always a huge hit. The staff is warm, they know their stuff and they know how to communicate effectively with second graders. Highly recommended!
  • Wonderful large clear displays! Would return anytime. Extinct bird samples like passenger pigeon and ivory billed woodpeckers
Places to stay near Amherst College Museum of Natural History

Plan your trip to Amherst

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Amherst College Museum of Natural History by other users

2 days in Northfield BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, relaxing, historic sites, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 18 days in Worcester & Boston BY A USER FROM GERMANY May, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 39 days in Catskill BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 56 days in Albany BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: May, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Hampshire County BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Massachusetts BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 12 days in Massachusetts BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 30 days in Springfield BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Northampton BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in Northampton BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 4 days in South Deerfield BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 27 days in Hartford BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, romantic, beaches, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, romantic, beaches, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans