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.
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 adjacent classrooms.
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.
The museum is mask-friendly, wearing a mask is optional for individual visitors and family groups.