Archive inspiration in the MERL shop

Visitor Services Assistant, Judith Moon, also manages the MERL shop. In this post, Judith reveals the story behind some beautiful new products inspired by our archive collections…

The shop at MERL occupies a small but important part of the reception and introductory area of the museum and the past 8 years has seen the range of products  grow steadily. Our aim is to reflect the MERL collections in the products on offer. We look for local, small suppliers who you’re unlikely to find on the high street. We also sell our own range of household linens, exclusively designed for MERL by Suzy T.  We are delighted that we are now able to sell these beautiful bags, aprons and tea towels in our brand new online shop

Suzy T products
Suzy T products

We have also been looking recently for ways to showcase some of the beautiful images that form part of the University’s Special Collections, and 2 years ago we began a journey to find a company that would help us to do just that. We approached a few well known card and stationery companies – names that we’re all familiar with when shopping for good quality fine art greetings cards and MGML (museums and galleries marketing ltd) were one of the companies we approached. They came and spent a day with us looking through the hundreds of beautiful images which form part of the Huntley and Palmers archive held in the Special Collections – they were very, very excited by what they saw and went away armed with lots of ideas for cards and other stationery!

New products
New products

After a little while spent working with the images and archivists at MERL, they came up with a range of unique invitation and thank you notelets as well as small handbag mirrors which reflect the beauty and diversity of just one of our archive collections! The cards and mirrors are now available in the MERL shop   We hope that these new products will soon be added to the small collection of MERL products which can now be bought in our new online shop, so watch this space for news!

New mirrors
New mirrors

As plans for changes to the reception area take shape as part of our Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment project, we are looking at different options for increasing the display space for the shop and the hope is that we will be able to expand and enhance the shop’s range to include more products inspired by our stunning archive collections!

For now, why not try the MERL shop for your Christmas cards and a unique gifts. The shop is open during normal museum opening times, and also on Mondays from 9am to 5pm (Museum closed)

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  • 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

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