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 half term holiday, we are delighted that Jelly are running another Arts and Heritage Holiday Club at the Museum this Easter, 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 […]

Inspired by the collection: Caitlin Hinshelwood’s ‘Rural Life’ scarf

Caitlin Hinshelwood is a London based textile artist and designer, producing distinctive, hand dyed and screen-printed pieces. She is interested in using motifs and symbols to suggest narrative within her textiles. I am often drawn to the work of unknown makers, objects that have been made for necessity, decoration, or just the love of it. […]

Heritage Crafts at Risk

Written by Greta Bertram, Secretary of the Heritage Crafts Association and freelance consultant. The Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) is a charity which supports and promotes heritage craft skills, knowledge and practices as a fundamental part of our living heritage. In the HCA we’ve long been aware of anecdotal evidence about crafts which have disappeared or […]

Work experience at The MERL

Written by Emma Tin, a Work Experience student from the Abbey School. During my week of work experience, my task was to learn from the museum and archives at the MERL and to convey what I have learnt to the staff working on an archive exhibition at my school. The Abbey School in Reading has […]

Discovering the Landscape #4: Inaugural Meeting of the LI Friends Group

Guest post written by Penny Beckett, Chair of the LI Archive Friend’s Group As followers of this blog will be aware, the Landscape Institute transferred its archive to MERL in October of last year and is currently supporting MERL financially to work on the Institute’s collections and make them accessible. As part of the terms […]

Guest post: Our Country Lives project goes global with a ‘Stitch in Time’

MERL Fellow, Dr Jane McCutchan has written a guest post about her project with ‘Permeate’ trainee, Genell Watson, to encourage more visitors to MERL by local people with a BAME background Local community and wider audiences are at the heart of our re-display and there are many chances to influence how we explore English rural […]

Psychology students' research project: children's word recognition in museums

Over the Autumn Term we had the pleasure of hosting a psychology research project at the Museum of English Rural Life for two University of Reading undergraduates, Alex Tait and Laura Postlethwaite. Alex and Laura used a selection of objects from the Museum’s collection to explore how children learn new words in a museum setting. […]

Guest post #3 – Collections-Based Research at Reading

In this month’s guest post, Professor Alison Donnell kindly provides us with details of an exciting new development at Reading. We have a new collections-based research programme! This allows PhD students to undertake research with University of Reading collections and get specialised training. Two of these studentships connect with MERL and special collections, but the […]

Guest post #2: Hilary James reflects on music at MERL

Hilary James approached MERL over four years ago about the possibility of bringing folk music to the Museum, and with the obvious connections between English folk music and our collections, we welcomed the idea of a series of concerts, workshops and talks set against the backdrop of the Museum. As we prepare for ‘A Day […]

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