Time to Picnic: Top 10 tips from The MERL

Picnics. Sandwiches. Cake. Slightly too warm lemonade. Wasps. Picnics are a staple of the summer. They’re a great way to get outside and to experience all that the countryside has to offer. Indeed people have been enjoying eating outside for hundreds of years. In the late 1600s the pleasure gardens at Vauxhall sold cold meats […]

How do you give medicine to a horse?

Now that June has indeed passed, taking with it the rain and clouds, it’s time to look back at a few of the fascinating objects that have made their way into the Museum’s collection in the last month. With eight new objects in total, we have selected three to look at in a little more […]

Aus Deutschland zu Besuch?

Visiting from Germany? Here are some shorts posts written by students in the German Department at the University of Reading Das MERL Museum von Eleanor Richard Herberts Das MERL (Museum of English Rural Life) in Reading ist ein Museum für Landleben, und wird leider oft von Touristen vergessen. Das ist sehr schade, weil das Museum […]

What lies beneath?

Anthropologist and Collections Volunteer Paul Trawick has been delving into the role of field drains on English farms. These hidden gems offer an ingenious and indigenous way to reclaim ground, improve topsoil, tame groundwater, and achieve sustainable crop yields. But few of us even know they are there. In this, the first of several posts, […]

The Jam Lady – Keeping Jam Relevant

Written by Sarah Roy, The Jam Lady How did it all begin? Well, once my movie career dried up and the offers of modelling work stopped, I looked for new avenues. I woke in the night with a flash of inspiration. That flash was …. JAM. Actually, I’ve enjoyed baking, cooking and all things culinary […]

Get out … into the countryside

Have you noticed that the days are staying lighter for longer? Is spring just around the corner? Does the change in season make you think about spending time outside? If you are one of the 53 million people in the UK who live in an urban environment, you might want to ‘get out into the […]

So we found a live bat in our archive

There are few opportunities in life to ask ‘…does anyone know anything about bats?’, but that day came in December 2018 for us here at The MERL. Luckily, we have former University Librarian Rose-Ann Movosvic spending every Thursday volunteering at The MERL Library, but even luckier is that she also devotes the rest of her week […]

The mystery of Joseph Arch’s plaster hands

One hand forms a light fist – the other relaxed, as though sleeping. The passing of years has given the plaster almost the colour of skin, the fingers looking almost nicotine-stained. The plaster-cast hands of Joseph Arch (10/11/1826-12/02/1919) are very personal objects. One theory for their existence is that they were cast in place of […]

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    The Museum reopened in October 2016, following a major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    Free Admission

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

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