The Museum of English Rural Life archive, library and object collections tell the story of rural England. The collections are a major source of knowledge and inspiration about how people lived and worked in the countryside. They tell the story of how food and farming matter to everyone.


The archives range from papers of individual farms and large estates through the institutional archives of major countryside organisations to the trade records of agricultural firms, as well as over a million rural photographs, films relating to the countryside, tens of thousands of engineering drawings, personal records and journals of farmers, farm workers, land girls and evacuees.


The library is the most important in the country for the study of the history of British agriculture, the countryside and rural society. The majority of the 50,000 volumes in our library are open access. There are uniquely accessible, extensive runs of historically significant journals from the nineteenth century onwards, a large number of rare books and specialist collections.


The object collections contain over 25,000 objects, including many not on display, which provide a material record covering 1750 to the present day.


We offer several different ways of searching and browsing our collections. Explore an A-Z list of our collections and categoriessearch our online databaseplan a research visit in person, or access our Virtual Reading Room.