People and Places: why The MERL is taking part in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month

Throughout June, The MERL is celebrating Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. Running since 2008, this month celebrates ‘the remarkable and immense contributions Gypsy, Roma and Traveller individuals and communities bring to wider society’. Its aim is to help tackle prejudice, challenge myths and amplify the voices of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers. To some readers, it […]

51 Voices: Be Nice, Say Hello, Share the Space

This January, The MERL embarked on 51 Voices, a new year-long project celebrating the Museum’s seventieth anniversary in 2021. Throughout the year, we will be working with a range of writers, artists and different communities to give contemporary voice to fifty-one objects and archives in The MERL collection connected in myriad ways to our founding […]

Mapping the lantern slides

Dr Katrina Navickas is the 2020/21 Open Spaces Society Fellow at The MERL. In this blog, Katrina outlines her work and research in mapping the locations of over 1,000 lantern slides in the Open Spaces Society collection. The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 to campaign for and preserve commons, footpaths and open spaces […]

Updates on COVID-19

Latest update: 10th May 2021 In line with the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap, we are delighted to announce that visitors will be able to return to The MERL galleries from Tuesday 18th May. This follows the reopening of our shop, café, garden and reading room in April, and forms part of the combined reopening of Museums […]

51 Voices: Pleasure and Pain

This January, The MERL embarked on 51 Voices, a new year-long project celebrating the museum’s seventieth anniversary in 2021. Throughout the year, we will be working with a range of writers, artists and different communities to give contemporary voice to fifty-one objects and archives in The MERL collection connected in myriad ways to our founding […]

Working (the land) 9 to 5: rural England and Dolly Parton

So, a quick caveat. Dolly Parton has never been to The MERL. At least, we don’t think so. But that’s not to say that our collection and the history of rural England aren’t filled with objects that have a remarkable Dolly twist. In fact, this article was prompted by the fact that 2021 represents a big […]

Is there (rural) life on Mars?

In March 2020, we tweeted about the concept of rural life on Mars, only to learn that researchers at the University of Reading, our parent organisation, are exploring this very subject. In this blog, hear from UoR researcher Tamisan Latherow as she reflects on her research journey so far: from watching Matt Damon in 2015’s The […]

The Tractor Whisperers

Written by Tim Jerrome. In the first half of the 20th century, Britain was home to myriad secret agricultural societies, such as Horseman’s Word. Yet there was one society which, for many, was only a myth. Known as the Tractor Whisperers, the secretive Order of Credulum tilled the shadows of 20th century rural England, achieving […]

51 Voices: Digging Deeper

This January, The MERL embarked on 51 Voices, a new year-long project celebrating the Museum’s seventieth anniversary in 2021. Throughout the year, we will be working with a range of writers, artists and different communities to give contemporary voice to fifty-one objects and archives in The MERL collection connected in myriad ways to our founding year. In this […]

  • Visit us

    Visit Us

    We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to The MERL galleries from Tuesday 18th May.

    Free admission. Please book a timed slot.

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

    Book now