My Country Arts Award

Over the last six weeks we have had the pleasure of welcoming Rebecca to The MERL on Supported Work Placement. Rebecca is a student in Reading College’s LLD/D (Learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities department) and she has spent her time with us learning about the museum, being inspired by our collections and has worked […]

AniMERL – an autumn of animals at The MERL

Over recent years, thanks to the attention of influencers such as J. K. Rowling and a massive and supportive social media following, The MERL has become known for its forays into the beastlier facets of the farm. This has provided us with a visual petting zoo of trousered chickens and tragic mice, colossal rams, curious […]

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 […]

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 […]

‘Muscle Memory: the story of a pair of clogs’ by Hannah James

For the 2018 MERL Annual Lecture we presented ‘Muscle Memory’, a world-premiere performance from award-winning accordionist, singer and clog dancer Hannah James, developed in response to the collections at The MERL and the traditions that have helped shaped them. One of the key figures in the revival of English percussive dance, Hannah’s musicianship takes her […]

Stepping out of time with Hannah James at The MERL Annual Lecture

Stepping out of Time, this year’s MERL Annual Lecture, is no ordinary lecture… This year, we are in for a treat as award-winning accordionist, singer and clog dancer Hannah James performs her new work, ‘Muscle Memory’, which we have commissioned as part our project Making, Using and Enjoying: The Museum of the Intangible, funded by […]

If you go down to The MERL today…

…you’re sure of a big surprise! No teddies, we’re afraid, but you will definitely notice some surprising changes! From 20th October, we’re bringing The Outside In as host to artist Steven Claydon’s new exhibition in partnership with Reading International, Reading’s new contemporary visual arts organisation. Claydon’s work explores how objects gain meaning, and how this is shaped by the way […]

Ladybird in Focus: Creating a Making display!

12 cotton reels 4 corks a jar of clear Vaseline a blue feather an empty washing up liquid tube or paint tube an assortment of coloured felt. These were just some of the items that made up a list emailed around to colleagues at the beginning of January 2018. The ‘Ladybird in Focus’ case in the Ladybird […]

‘Handling’ by poet in residence, Jack Thacker

Written by Jack Thacker. Jack’s first book, ‘Handling’, is a gathering of poems based on personal experience and arising from time spent this year as poet-in-residence at The MERL. For nearly a decade now I’ve been writing poems about my experiences growing up on a small farm in Herefordshire. More recently, I’ve been exploring the […]

Life of the People

Written by Chip Colquhoun, storyteller and author Last summer I was invited to the MERL to take part in a workshop for the Museum of the Intangible project, and was asked to produce a creative response to the collections. This project is all about exploring the potential of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) and creative and […]

  • Visit us

    Visit Us

    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

    Plan my visit