Kids at the Museum

The Beneski Museum offers free admission to visitors of all ages, year-round. Whether you're on your own, with a friend or with a group, you're invited to explore our three floors of exhibits with more than 1,700 specimens on display.

We ask all groups of 10 or more to schedule a group visit in advance.


Hours, Admission and Access

Open to the public:
Tuesday–Friday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 
Closed Monday

Admission is always free of charge.

The museum is fully accessible; a wheelchair and walker are available for use on site.


Directions

GPS-friendly address: 11 Barrett Hill Dr., Amherst, MA 01002

The museum is located on the Amherst College campus. The main entrance to Amherst College is just east of the intersection of Routes 9 and 116 South, adjacent to the Amherst College PVTA (Public Transportation) bus loop. 

A map showing the Beneski Museum, PVTA bus stop and walking route can be accessed here: Campus Map


Parking & Passenger Drop off

On weekdays, campus parking is restricted to permit holders. During these hours, visitors are asked to park in the Town of Amherst’s metered parking spaces (see Amherst town parking map) or in the College’s nearby Hills parking lot, located at 145 College St./MA Route 9.

On weekends, all visitors may park in any spot on campus, including along the main quadrangle.

Accessible parking spaces are available to visitors at all times. One is located near the museum on Fayerweather Dr., and more are located along the college’s main quadrangle. Visitors with limited mobility may be dropped off directly in front of the museum.

A map showing on campus parking locations: *Campus Map

Buses

Buses should drop off passengers near the museum's main entrance, then continue to the college's nearby Hills lot for parking:

  • Enter Amherst College on East Drive opposite Dickinson Street on Route 9.
  • Drop off passengers at the crosswalk in front of The Powerhouse, 10 East Dr.
  • Bus Parking - continue 0.2 miles along East Drive to South Parking lot were this is ample space to park buses.
  • Pick up passesngers at the crosswalk in front of the Powerhouse, 10 East Dr.

*Campus Map


Visitor Policies

Drawers

The Beneski Museum is staffed by student docents and security officers. Please follow their instructions at all times.

Note that the Beneski building contains two separate departments: the Beneski Museum and the Amherst College Geology department. The museum is located on the ground, first and second floors of the south side of the building; the third floor is restricted to students and staff of the Geology department. Visitors interested in seeing the mineral exhibits in the halls must refrain from loud talking or any noise-making activities.

Young Visitors

The museum and its exhibits are generally designed for college students, but children and their caregivers are welcome and frequent visitors. Because the museum displays real specimens that are very fragile, children must be closely supervised at all times, including in the hallways, which must be kept quiet because of the classrooms they serve. 

Personal Items

Personal items may be stored in the museum's coatroom, located on the first floor near the main entrance. Backpacks may not be worn in the museum but can be stored or hand-carried within the galleries.

Food and Drink

Visitors are not permitted to bring food or beverages of any kind into the museum. Food and beverages may be left the coatroom. Water fountains are located in the hallways on each floor.

Can I Touch? 

The museum encourages close inspection and curiosity-driven investigation of specimens on display. Nevertheless, visitors must maintain a safe distance of 12 inches from exhibits when they do so. As a rule, specimens on display, including fossils, rocks and minerals, may not be touched. Please do not touch, lean on or place personal items on the exhibit platforms, interpretive panels or display cases. 

So that visitors can include touch as part of their experience, there are several special displays dedicated to touching. The following are touchable displays:

  • Dinosaur footprints embedded in the floor (ground floor)
  • Trackway “book” in Wolansky Gallery (ground floor)
  • Dinosaur gastroliths (ground floor)
  • Petrified tree (ground floor)
  • Rock, mineral and meteorite specimens on pedestals in the hallways (all floors)

No other specimens or displays may be touched.

Open Drawers to Explore

The beltway of display drawers on the museum's north wall is yours to explore during your visit. Ask a student docent or a security officer for help locating these. 

Photography and Filming

Still photography for personal use—including the use of flash—is allowed on all floors of the museum. Tripods, unipods and selfie sticks are not permitted. Personal video filming is not permitted. Commercial and professional photography requires permission from Amherst College; refer to Research Services for information about media usage and permissions. Student video projects are welcome but require prior approval; contact Museum Collections

Sketching and Drawing

Pencil is permitted. Markers, pen/ink, paint, charcoal, etc., are not permitted. Do not sharpen pencils within the museum. The museum has several 9 x 12 inch drawing boards available for use; artists may bring their own drawing boards as long as they do not exceed 20 x 25 inches. 

Artists may sit on the floor, chairs or benches within the galleries, but they must not obstruct the views or movement of other visitors. Please store personal belongings in the coatroom. Please follow the instructions of docents and security personnel regarding seating.

Sales

The Beneski Museum does not have a gift shop. Visitors may purchase the book Curious Footprints, by Nancy Pick and Frank Ward (2006), at the front desk. These are cash sales only and exact change ($20) is required. Receipts are available upon request.