‘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 […]

Friday Fledglings: What’s it all about?

Friday Fledglings is the MERL’s weekly outdoor learning session for under 5s.  It has gone from strength to strength since it launched in November 2016, shortly after the redeveloped museum reopened. But what is it all about? We had a chat with Charlotte Allchin, a freelance Forest School Leader, who plans and delivers the sessions, […]

Growing Communities: 3 Years of Forging Histories at The MERL

Over the past four years the MERL has been out in the community and making new links thanks to our Heritage Lottery Fund project Our Country Lives. Phillippa Heath (Audience Development Project Manager) reflects back on three years of fruitful collaborations and partnerships and chooses eight hidden gems… I must admit, trying to identify the highlights of three […]

A tractor you can climb on!

Written by Isabel Hughes, Curator The MERL has a wonderful collection of tractors. They range from a 1917 Titan, manufactured in the USA by the International Harvester Company and typical of tractors imported to Britain to help with the war effort, to a 1930s Fordson Model “N” petrol and paraffin tractor that we use to […]

Going green in the MERL café

It all started with a question about paper cups! Over the past year, we have been working hard to reduce the waste produced from our café, and to increase our recycling. It has been a long process involving the help of the Waste & Sustainability Department at the University of Reading, and we can now […]

What would you put in a Museum of Contemporary Farming?

By Georgina Barney, artist, and curator of the Museum of Contemporary Farming The Museum of Contemporary Farming is an impossible project. Commissioned by the MERL as part of the project Making, Using and Enjoying: The Museum of the Intangible, it is manifested by me, its curator, with invited guests and the public. I’ve been using […]

Creative Kids: how Arts Awards inspire children in museums!

After a successful launch in the October 2017, we are delighted that Jelly are continuing to run more Arts and Heritage Holiday Clubs at the Museum, for 7 to 11 year olds to achieve an Arts Award. But why? We had a chat with organiser, Kate Powell, about why she’s so passionate about encouraging children to […]

It started with a sheep

Written by Audience Development Project Officer, Rhiannon Watkinson. It all started with a large plastic sheep. Not the most conventional opening to a story, I grant you! In fact I should say it started with a large plastic sheep, a brand new museum, a shepherd’s hut and a fabulous volunteer. What do these things have […]

Access to the MERL and Special Collections Library: May 2017

Due to essential maintenance work, we regret to inform you that access to the MERL and Special Collections open access library corridor will be restricted or unavailable on the following dates: Tuesday 16 May – Thursday 18 May Tuesday 23 May – Friday 26 May This will affect access to Special Collections and MERL open […]

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    Visit Us

    The Museum is now fully open, 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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