Beneski Museum of Natural History

Astronomy Summer 2014

The Bassett Planetarium is closed for the Summer June 30 - August 31.  We look forward to our fall program series.  During the summer the Observatory on Snell Street is open each Saturday evening 9PM - 10PM+ so long as the sky is clear of clouds. No appointment necessary.

Group Visits to the Museum and Planetarium

Individuals and groups are welcome to explore the Museum exhibits on their own. If you wish to bring a group of 10 or more (including adults and children) to the Museum for a self-guided visit, please see the instructions below. All visits to the Planetarium are guided.

School and other groups must use email to schedule museum and planetarium visits using these pages - there is no phone assistance. There is a 45 person limit for museum visits (including children and adults). The Planetarium has seating for 60 persons and is not handicap accessible.

To schedule your visit, use the link to the left to view our calendar and select a date and time. Groups are encouraged to Museum during regular business hours, Tuesday- Friday 11 AM to 4 PM and Saturday - Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM.  With ample advanced notice it is possible to schedule a visit outside of business hours.  Once you have selected a day/date and time please email a note to Alfred J. Venne (avenne@amherst.edu).

Please specify the following information in your request.

Beneski Museum of Natural History - Bassett Planetarium or BOTH

  1. Day, date and time
  2. Group Name & Age Group
  3. Contact Person & Phone
  4. Number in Group & Chaperone Ratio
  5. Type of Visit (Guided or Self Guided)

You will receive a reply to confirm that your request has been scheduled or that your proposed date/time is not available.

Interested in combining your visit to the Beneski Natural History Museum with the Mead Art Museum and/or the Emily Dickinson Museum?  Click here to contact the Beneski’s education staff to learn more.

For anyone visiting the museum, there are rules that must be observed:

1.) The museum welcomes children, but adults must supervise their children at all times. Many of our exhibits contain fragile specimens, so no running or touching is allowed. Children may not be left on their own in the museum building. 

2.) Hallways and mineral exhibit areas must be kept quiet. The museum is located in the Earth Sciences Building and college classes are frequently taking place during the time schools are visiting. It is very important for you to keep your group in the museum. The halls and mineral exhibit areas are off limits to groups on weekdays except for trips to the bathrooms.

3.) Amherst College student monitors staff the museum during its public hours. All visitors must abide by the rules explained to them by the monitors. The monitors are available to answer questions, but are not formally trained museum docents and cannot lead guided tours.

4.) Groups should use the South entrance doors (located off of Barrett Hill Road) to the Museum and take an immediate right straight into the museum.

Please keep in mind that ours is an academic museum devoted to teaching about Earth history to college students. Our interpretive materials are for college students with a background in the sciences. Our displays are not interactive but they are real specimens collected by Amherst professors and their students.