Beneski Museum of Natural History

Welcome to the Beneski Museum of Natural History. The Beneski Museum of Natural History (BMNH) is located in the Beneski Earth Sciences Building on the Amherst College campus. This building holds collections that can help us learn about the world around us. Inside you can see dinosaur fossils, minerals, and maybe even a rock from space.

The BMNH is known for its giant collection of fossils, specializing in ancient mammals including many dinosaurs. The museum contains the Edward Hitchcock Ichnology Collection, one of the largest known collections of dinosaur tracks.

Edward Hitchcock was an American geologist and the third President of Amherst College from 1845 to 1854. Throughout his life, he collected over 20,000 fossil footprints, becoming one of the first people to study and offer evidence of prehistoric animals. Most of Hitchcock's collection of footprints and tracks were obtained locally up and down the Connecticut River Valley.

The Beneski Museum of Natural History also contains the bones of a mammoth, mastodon, and a giant deer skeleton of an Irish Elk (Megaloceros giganteus), a creature who once roamed the Connecticut River Valley during the Ice Age.

There are some touchable displays for children and a beltway of display drawers on the museum's north wall that families can explore. If you have questions or need help, there are student docents who act as guides and can help with any questions that may arise. This museum offers a fun afternoon for kids to explore and learn!


Aaron Becker loved learning about space as a child. The Apollo moon missions fascinated him and he often drew pictures of other worlds, leading him to a career in film illustration before becoming an author. He also likes to connect to the natural world on this planet, enjoying hikes and mountain bike rides around the valley.

Dr. Britt Crow-Miller teaches classes in the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the founder of City Wild, a nonprofit organization for youth ages 11 through 18 based in Western Massachusetts. Along with illustrator Bruno Valasse, Britt recently completed a science book for elementary and middle school-aged kids called World of Rot to be published by Storey Publishing in the autumn of 2024.

I Spy

I spy with my little eye old bones from another time period! What kind of animal do they belong to?