Beneski Museum of Natural History
Home of the World’s Largest Collection of
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.
There are three levels to the museum, with an entire floor dedicated to local geological phenomena, such as glaciation and mountain building- point out the Holyoke Range to your kids on you way to visit, then learn how it was created at the museum.
- When you arrive you will find on the Entrance Level Ice Age Mammals and the Evolution of the Horse.
- Travel to the Upper Level to see Human Evolution, Geology of the Connecticut River Valley and Bedrock Geology Model.
- The down to the Lower Level to check out the Hitchcock Ichnology Collection and Mesozoic Reptiles.
The museum’s resources offer several ways to supplement lessons on natural history. Before arriving, print out their self guided tour of the Vertebrate Fossils in the museum, and go on a quest with your kids/students when you arrive to locate and learn about vertebrate fossils. And get your kids excited about their Oddities of the Natural History Museum Collection by screening an audio slide show together online beforehand.
To arrange a guided tour of the museum for your youth group or school, email Alfred J. Venne, Museum Educator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. – The museum’s regular hours are Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-4pm, and Thursdays from 6-10pm. Admission is free. For more information visit www.amherst.edu/museums/naturalhistory.