November 15, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have awarded $200,000 for the construction of the new earth sciences and museum of natural history building at Amherst College.

Scheduled to open for teaching early in 2006, the new building will serve as a research laboratory and exhibition hall, allowing students and visitors to view and work with its impressive collections. The public exhibits are expected to open in the summer. The first dinosaur tracks ever documented in New England, the highlight of former college president Edward Hitchcock's vast collection, will be displayed in the main atrium, along with the full skeleton of a mastodon. The walls of this space, constructed almost entirely of glass, promise to showcase the illuminated mastodon for special nighttime viewing. Additionally, the building will feature several research laboratories with adjoining student project rooms. In this way, the building will connect students and faculty in the same research space. Finally, the new museum will contain four shared teaching laboratories, further facilitating the faculty-student interactions that define teaching and learning at Amherst.

Based in Jacksonville, Fla., the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations are a national philanthropic organization established through the generosity of the late American industrialist Arthur Vining Davis. The purpose of the foundations is to provide financial assistance, primarily in the areas of private higher education, secondary education, graduate theological education, health care and public television. An 1888 graduate of Amherst, Davis was a lifetime supporter of the college, contributing, for example, support for the construction of Davis Hall.