Our agricultural museum goes intergalatic (or global, at least)

Written by Dr Ollie, Douglas, Curator of The MERL Collections. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Forty-five years ago, as George Lucas started to film the stellar tale of an intergalactic farm-boy’s struggle against an evil empire, here in Reading things were also hotting up. In some ways, quite literally. Perhaps […]

Queer Rural Connections: queer history and belonging in the countryside

This summer, The MERL will host the Queer Rural Connections live promenade show and documentary film, which will share the stories and experiences of queer rural people. Below, Timothy Allsop, writer, actor, and director, tells us about the ideas behind the project, what he hopes it will achieve, and the challenges he has faced so […]

‘I, Sheep’ and capturing the intangible countryside

In the countryside, time is strange. The pace of life may appear glacial, and as old as the hills. Our countryside might seem as static and carefully tended as a museum object. But rural places are also dipped in seasonality and drenched in constant change. They follow the repeating rhythm of the annual round. Sheep […]

Friday Fledglings online – stories, crafts and rainbows

Bringing the outdoors online The MERL’s popular weekly outdoor learning session for under-5s, Friday Fledglings, has moved from The MERL garden to online during the museum closure. Our session leaders Charlotte and Fong have been telling us stories from their gardens and sharing crafts and activities. These activities are inspired by The MERL garden and collections, […]

Agricultural Shows in the Picture

As we enter the virtual showground and magnificent new website of The Greatest Online Agricultural Show to celebrate our friends in the virtual farming community, we wanted to post to our own blog to mark the moment. What better time for our curator Ollie Douglas to delve into the rich culture and history of agricultural shows? […]

Friday Fledglings – Online Special

Hello, everyone! This week, because the museum is closed, we’ll be doing Friday Fledglings a little differently. Rather than meeting in our lovely garden (which we miss very dearly), the brilliant Friday Fledglings team have sent us several fantastic things for kids and their grown-ups to do at home instead! Firstly, Charlotte received a lovely […]


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