Updates on COVID-19

Read about how we are keeping our visitors, staff and volunteer safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reading room is home!

We are pleased to announce that our reading room will be reopening in its usual space from Tuesday 23rd November 2021.

51 Voices: Writing Voices

Read our latest roundup of 51 Voices, where we focus on the writing produced through partnership with poets, University students, and a local school.

Introducing Space to Think: Rural Wellbeing, our latest student exhibition

Written by Dr Rhi Smith, Director of Museum Studies, University of Reading. How do you create a museum exhibition when you cannot get into the museum? Planning your first museum exhibition is tough experience at the best of times. Doing it online during a global pandemic takes that to another level. Even so, within the […]

Our agricultural museum goes intergalatic (or global, at least)

Written by Dr Ollie, Douglas, Curator of The MERL Collections. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Forty-five years ago, as George Lucas started to film the stellar tale of an intergalactic farm-boy’s struggle against an evil empire, here in Reading things were also hotting up. In some ways, quite literally. Perhaps […]

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 […]

51 Voices: from Protest to Performance

Last month, 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 the […]

Hidden Stories

The MERL – so much more than simply galleries for people to visit…. The MERL prides itself in being part of the local Reading community beyond the walls of the museum. Recently we have had the opportunity to partner with Age UK Berkshire to take our collections to a whole new audience and we jumped […]

Naming places: how children make the world their own

Written by Dr Jeremy Burchardt, Department of History, University of Reading Place-name (toponym) research has a long and distinguished tradition in English historical scholarship, associated with the work of luminaries such as Margaret Gelling, Harry Thorpe and the English Place Name Society. Admittedly, there is an even longer tradition of bogus place-name derivations–just the other […]

The MERL receives Culture Recovery Fund grant

Press release: The MERL receives financial boost for digital engagement and programmes for local communities 12th October (13:00pm) The Museum of English Rural Life has been awarded £74,248 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable […]

  • Visit us

    Visit Us

    We are now fully open.

    Free admission.

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

    Plan your visit