Amherst Libraries and Museums Collaborate to Support Literacy Through Archaeology

Literacy Meets Archaeology in Amherst This Summer!

Dig Into Reading

On Saturday, June 22, from 11am-3pm, Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum and Beneski Museum of Natural History will host a day of free, drop-in, kid-friendly activities. Activities include scavenger hunts and archaeology-themed art projects that are thematically linked to the Jones Library summer reading program.

Do your kids totally dig archaeology? Here’s your chance to tie their interest in dinosaurs, fossils and artifacts into reading this summer…

The Jones Library in Amherst along with its branches will be collaborating with two local museums in a free family event, Dig It! A Festival of Art, Books, and FossilsDig It! will be held at both the Beneski Museum of Natural History and the Mead Art Museum to kick off the library’s Dig Into Reading summer reading program on Saturday, June 22nd from 11am-3pm! To accompany the Dig Into Reading summer theme, these two Hampshire County museums, along with the Jones Library, have designed a collaborative event that will focus on archaeology and literacy!

At the Beneski Museum, families will learn how archaeologists find, uncover, and preserve bones and fossils. Kids can get up close and personal with dino skeletons and items that represent Pioneer Valley in eras past.  Meanwhile, the Mead Art Museum will focus on items related to human history and culture, such as pottery and tools, offering families the opportunity to learn about the inferences that archaeologists are able to make about human history based on the artifacts that they uncover.

There will be hands-on activities to accompany these learning opportunities offered at each museum – kids can design an image inspired by the art found on Greek vases or create a dinosaur collage!  Families can also pick up Dig Into Reading summer packets from Jones Library staff to participate in the summer reading programming.  While your kids learn, play, and discover, use your visit to the museums as an opportunity to plan further explorations – it’s impossible to learn everything in just one visit, so make a list of exhibits and displays to come back to throughout the summer as you dig your way through summer reading… especially since admission to both museums is always free!

Dig It! is a collaboration between the Mead Art Museum and the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College, and the Jones Library and its branches, North Amherst and Munson (South Amherst). For more information on Dig It!, call the Mead Art Museum at 413-542-2335. For more information on the summer reading program at the Amherst Libraries, visit

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