The Museum of English Rural Life was founded in 1951.
During and after the Second World War the English countryside experienced many significant social and technological changes. Older ways of doing things were swept aside. In 1951 the University of Reading established our museum to help record these rural changes. We grew to cover many themes, from crafts and farming to home life and leisure. Early curators worked closely with rural people to safeguard their history, gathering rich collections of objects, books, films, photos and archives. Our first site was on the University’s in Whiteknights House on Whiteknights Campus before moving to the Rural History Centre, and then to our current home on Redlands Road on the London Road Campus.
Our Museum has grown to become the leading centre for exploring food, farming and the countryside, past and present. From early beginnings staff have always delivered a diverse range of public activities and events whilst maintaining a role in University teaching and research. Today’s team work alongside a wide range of people and communities, both rural and urban, to engage them in greater understanding about our country lives.