Temporary reading room move – September 2021

Between 31 August and 24 September 2021, the reading room will be moving to the Conference Room to make way for essential maintenance work. The Conference Room is located above the current reading room and can be accessed via the staircase or lift from the locker room. Closure days During this period, however, we will […]

Updates on COVID-19

Latest update: 2nd September 2021 From Tuesday the 7th September, we are introducing several changes at The MERL which will make it easier for you to visit the museum in a more relaxed way. At the same time, we are maintaining several of our health and safety measures from the last year, so that everybody […]

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 […]

Queer Rural Connections: queer history and belonging in the countryside

This summer, The MERL will host the Queer Rural Connections live promenade show and documentary film, which will share the stories and experiences of queer rural people. Below, Timothy Allsop, writer, actor, and director, tells us about the ideas behind the project, what he hopes it will achieve, and the challenges he has faced so […]

Staff Stories – what Culture Recovery Fund support means to us

On July 5 2020, the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced an unprecedented, world-leading £1.57 billion rescue package for cultural and heritage organisations to help them weather the impact of coronavirus. Under an £880m grants programme managed by Arts Council England, The MERL was awarded £74,248. The funding […]

The MERL receives Culture Recovery Fund grant

Press release: The MERL receives financial boost for digital engagement and programmes for local communities 12th October (13:00pm) The Museum of English Rural Life has been awarded £74,248 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable […]

Digital Access to The MERL Collections

Today, we are publishing our plans to increase digital access to our collections. There is a new digital access guide here During the lockdown, we have continued to make available content that has already been digitised, launching new websites and schools resources, answering research enquiries, and creating online exhibitions. From 13 July, we will be […]

“Gambling with floods?” An immersive Sci-Art exhibition

In this guest blog, Dr Louise Arnal joins us to discuss her immersive SciArt installation “Gambling with Floods?”, which was exhibited at the Museum from the 1st to the 15th November 2019. Through a fusion of scientific and artistic practice, “Gambling with Floods?” invites its viewer to experience first-hand the complexities of forecasting flooding. How […]

Agricultural Shows in the Picture

As we enter the virtual showground and magnificent new website of The Greatest Online Agricultural Show to celebrate our friends in the virtual farming community, we wanted to post to our own blog to mark the moment. What better time for our curator Ollie Douglas to delve into the rich culture and history of agricultural shows? […]

Reading room closure: 29 June – 10 July 2020

The MERL and University of Reading Special Collections reading room will be closed during the period 29 June – 10 July 2020 for essential works. We have secured the funds to create digital access study booths in the reading room. This will allow us to provide researcher access to digital copies of film, high quality […]

  • 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