A Land Down Under

Anthropologist and Collections Volunteer Paul Trawick continues his journey of subsoil discovery, exploring the role of land drainage on English farms. In his first post – What Lies Beneath? – he introduced us to these little-known systems. In this installment he elaborates further on their history and how they work… We have already seen how […]

Our newest exhibition is causing quite the buzz

Fiona Melhuish (UMASCS Librarian) writes about our new exhibition on the fascinating Cowan Bee Collection at The MERL: Last year, we were very pleased to report that The MERL had acquired the Cowan Bee Collection, a library of 1,800 volumes of books, pamphlets and journals relating to bees and beekeeping, which has been described as […]

How to be rural: pop-up exhibition on Thomas Tusser and agricultural instruction

In July 2018 we were fortunate to acquire an early edition of Five hundreth pointes of good husbandrie by Thomas Tusser at the Rothamsted Collection/Lawes Agricultural Library auction at Forum Auctions. This 1585 edition, with its splendid frontispiece, bound in mottled calf with gilt turn-ins, will join other early editions of Tusser’s work in our […]

The chicken and the egg: the David Scrivener Collection

Which came first? Discover all things poultry, chickens and eggs in our new Staircase Hall exhibition celebrating the completion of the cataloguing of the David Scrivener Collection: The chicken and the egg, from 12th November 2018. Written by Claudia Ricci, Project Cataloguer. Thanks to the generous support of The Poultry Club of Great Britain we […]

A snap chat about new photos of country shows

The next exciting instalment of our current Land and Folk seminar series brings the story of photographer Arnhel de Serra’s ongoing project, The Country Show, to The MERL for the very first time (see here for details). This body of work has been over a decade in the making and is the result of his […]

The new buzz about bees : the Cowan Bee Collection

Written by Fiona Melhuish, UMASCS Librarian As bees start to buzz around the boughs of spring blossom in the MERL garden, it seems a good time to announce one of our most important recent acquisitions: the Cowan Bee Collection. The collection, which was donated to us by Defra (the Department for Environment Food & Rural […]

Something worth crowing about: our new Poultry Archive project

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new project to develop and explore some of our poultry-related archive collections! Whether your interest is professional, amateur or just beginning, we will have delights from our archives and library aplenty for you over the coming months. Thanks to the generous support of the Poultry Club […]

Research bursaries available: Land Settlement Association and Landscape Institute

This year, thanks to the generous funding from an anonymous donor and the Landscape Institute we are pleased to offer bursaries to encourage use and engagement with our Land Settlement or Landscape Institute archives. The Land Settlement Association was established in 1934 to provide employment on the land for unemployed industrial workers from depressed areas.  Find out more here. The Landscape Institute was founded in 1929 […]

Discovering the landscape: cut it out!

Written by Claire Wooldridge, Project Librarian Over the past few years, my colleague Jen (Landscape Institute Archivist) and I have been working to integrate the library and archive of the Landscape Institute into the collections of the Museum of English Rural Life. The LI collections are rich and varied, including material such as books, pamphlets, […]

Improved Open Access Library fully accessible again

The MERL and Special Collections Open Access Library is now fully accessible again! In this library, which can be accessed from the Reading Room, you can find reference works relating to our Special Collections and to Samuel Beckett, as well as the library collection of the MERL, consisting of about 50,000 books, pamphlets and periodical volumes. We have been working hard to […]

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    The Museum reopened in October 2016, following a major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

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