Past Projects

Making, Using and Enjoying

As part of the Making, Using and Enjoying: The Museum of the Intangible project, we invited makers, writers and practitioners to produce a range of creative responses to the MERL’s collections as a way of exploring some of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) connected with them.

#digiRDG: Town and Country

#digiRDG: Town and Country was a collaborative project between the Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum, funded by Arts Council England from November 2016–May 2018.

The project explored new ways the museums could engage with audiences using digital technologies, how to train staff in digital skills and ran two diversity traineeships. For an overview of the project read the Project Manager’s blog Going digital is bloody difficult, download our full evaluation report or download our report’s executive summary.

Come Dine with Us

‘Come Dine with Us’ involved the women of Elizabeth Fry Approved Premises for Women in Reading, inspired by historic recipes in our archives.

We embarked on an incredible five-week programme and cooked a range of dishes, from Cornish pasties and macaroni cheese to caramel custard and toffee apples. The project created wonderful opportunities for team-working and learning new skills, and culminated with a three-course meal and cook book.

MERL in Photographs

During the museum’s closure, LLD/D Photography and Art students from Reading College (Activate Reading) used the museum spaces, collections and staff as inspiration for their photography. Throughout the five-month project students photographed the changing museum interior, its garden and took portraits of the museum staff, building their skills in a range of photographic techniques.

To learn more about our Hands on Rural Heritage Projects and to discover how your group might be able to get involved, please contact Phillippa Heath, our Audience Development Project Manager, at

The Arts Council England logo.