Beneski Museum of Natural History

Dinosaur skeletons and footprints, dazzling minerals and more await you at the Beneski Museum of Natural History.

Fossil Friday @ Beneski Friday 10/30

Carboniferous Period - Suddenly, Terrestrial Life! (2:15PM & 4:15PM - Onsite and Virtual)

The Carboniferous Period (359-299Ma) saw the rapid (emphasis on rapid) explosion of life on land. The Carboniferous is most known for its picturesque forests, filled with gigantic trees and ferns. By the end of the period, forests were swarming with air-breathing insects and arachnids, some giant compared to modern standards. Land vertebrates continued to adapt to land and diversify. Notably, amniotes emerged, laying their legs on land: a new innovation! The oceans were still just as exciting as in the Devonian, now featuring even more sharks and ray-finned fish. Coral reefs were abundant as well. This period is quite... beautiful. Land finally began to resemble what land looks like today.
Zoom Link


  • 2:15PM Ben Gilsdorf '21
  • 4:15PM Rilla McKeegan '21 & Lindsay Yue '21


Due to the evolving situation with COVID-19 and our efforts to keep our community as safe as possible, all Amherst College buildings are closed to visitors until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to welcoming you back as soon as we are able.

Study Space @ the Beneski Museum

Sundays - Thursdays 5-10PM

Are you looking for a unique place to study this fall? The Beneski Museum of Natural History may be that perfect spot. The Beneski museum is open for students to drop by and use the museum as a "Study Space". Become inspired by the magnificence of an Irish Elk, Saber Toothed Cat, Dire Wolf, and of course our amazing mascot the Columbian Mammoth. Student hosts Rilla '21, Ben '21, Lindsay '21, Nat '23, Annika '21,  & Taku '24 are onsite each evening should you have a question. 

  • The study space is for on-campus Amherst College Students and staff only.  ID required for admission.  


The Beneski Museum of Natural History is one of New England’s largest natural history museums, boasting three floors of exhibits with more than 1,700 specimens on display, and tens of thousands of specimens available for use by scholars and researchers from across campus and around the world.

Step inside the museum and you’ll find:

  • Dramatic displays of fossil skeletons, from fish to dinosaurs to Ice Age megafauna
  • An extraordinary collection of dinosaur footprints
  • Geological specimens and immersive exhibits that tell the history of the local landscape through geologic time, including when dinosaurs inhabited the area
  • Dazzling mineral specimens from around the world and meteorites from beyond Earth