Cultural Commissioning

The Cultural Commissioning project is building on The MERL extensive lifelong learning programmes which aim to enrich the quality of life of those living in the Reading area. Partnering with local organisations, the project aims to address social challenges and improve the health, well-being and economic success of our communities. It looks to address the needs of local people, particularly those who are less likely to access cultural opportunities.

The project is supported by Reading Borough Council’s Great Places Scheme, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England.

How is the Museum getting involved?

The Museum of English Rural Life will be developing ways to enhance the lives of older people as part of the Museum’s ageing well programmes.

The project has three strands:

  • Running reminiscence sessions inspired by The MERL collections. These sessions use objects, photos and other prompts to provoke memories in a person and inspire discussion.
  • Creating gardening experiences to promote well-being among older people using The MERL garden and other care home or hospital settings for therapeutic activity.
  • Designing a new ‘Dance for health’ programme to provide healthy physical activity, help engage the creative spirit and encourage social interaction for older people.

Find out more

If you are want to find out more information, please email