51 Voices: Be Nice, Say Hello, Share the Space

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 […]

From chalk to cheese: the new display in the Our Country Lives gallery

As we get ready to share the Museum with visitors once again, Curator of MERL Collections Ollie Douglas is to hand to reveal a change to our displays. As he explains, this has been in the pipeline since we relaunched the galleries in 2016. We are sorry to say it means our first visitors back […]

Is there (rural) life on Mars?

In March 2020, we tweeted about the concept of rural life on Mars, only to learn that researchers at the University of Reading, our parent organisation, are exploring this very subject. In this blog, hear from UoR researcher Tamisan Latherow as she reflects on her research journey so far: from watching Matt Damon in 2015’s The […]

51 Voices: Digging Deeper

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 year. In this […]

51 Voices: of Mice and Museums

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 year. In this […]

Why do we give each other socks? And other important questions

Written by Nicola Minney. Socks have long been a staple of Christmas gift giving. Where there’s a Christmas tree, there’s a great pair of socks waiting patiently beneath. Luckily, The MERL collection is filled with socks, which – thankfully – are all still paired. In time for the festive season, join us to celebrate this […]

Superstitious in the countryside

Written by Nicola Minney. An active part in the make-up of rural England’s pysche has always been a degree of superstition. In agricultural communities, people’s lives critically depended on bountiful harvests and healthy livestock, as they still do, so the people would be vigilant for any and all signs of looming disaster, of portents and […]

Discovering The Lost Museum

At The MERL, we are delighted to work on creative projects and displays in collaboration with a number of community partners from Reading and further afield. If you visit the Museum at the moment, you will find one such display in The Nook: a community case entitled The Lost Museum, created by the community of […]

Hidden Nature: The MERL’s Lockdown Garden

Every Wednesday, The MERL’s group of gardening volunteers – the Wednesday Wheelbarrows – meet in the Museum garden. Lovingly and expertly, they tend to our many vegetable plots, raised beds, herb garden, and more, and support gardening projects undertaken by the Museum’s community groups, University students, and the under 5s of our Friday Fledglings. After […]

Contested Countryside: Commons & the Cold War

This ‘Contested Countryside’ blog by Felicity McWilliams tells a story from the Museum’s newly acquired archives of the Open Spaces Society, Britain’s oldest national conservation body. It explores the disproportionate impact of a small group of West Berkshire Commoners on the US-USSR nuclear arms race in the 1980s. Greenham Common is an 855-acre gravel plateau […]

  • 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

    Book now