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Amherst College Museum of Natural History Museums

Amherst College
11 Barrett Hill Dr.
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 542-2165
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about us

Having collections is the element that makes museums unique from other institutions. This nucleus, the objects and their stories, is carefully collected and preserved, then used for research, displays, or teaching.

Here at Amherst College, we have over 200,000 objects spanning a dozen different types of natural history collections. These objects have been acquired through expeditions, exchanges, donations and purchases from the 1820s to the present. Our collections are, in a sense, representative of the interests of the faculty at any given point in time, and also mirror the history of scientific inquiry in the western world. Many items come from local areas, while many more are from sites in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America where graduated missionaries were sent in the College's earliest years or where expeditions ventured.

In addition to the specimens, there are associated documents that are considered ''auxiliary collections.'' They are the sources of data about the specimens and consist of ledger and card catalogues, field notes, and images in the form of photographs or drawings. Without these items, the specimens would hold little meaning and have no context.


  • Over 200,000 objects spanning a dozen different types of natural history collections
  • Associated documents that are considered ''auxiliary collections''
  • Museum appropriate for people of all ages, including young children
  • Involved in the Museums 10 program