Why the Folk?

Written by Dr Ollie Douglas, Curator of MERL Collections Here at The MERL we like short, snappy titles. We are especially fond of rurally-themed four-letter words. Nothing too crude, of course. We prefer wholesome, nostalgic words linked to our collections. MAKE. MILK. WOOL. Even UNIT sort of fits the mould. Based on these criteria alone, […]

We can’t believe we get to do this with chickens

Written by Rhiannon Watkinson – Audience Development Project Officer We all know those conversations you have at work – especially when you work in a museum – where you can’t quite believe what you are being asked to be involved with. It went like this: “There’s a great new project that we’d like you to […]

Ladybird in Focus: Creating a Making display!

12 cotton reels 4 corks a jar of clear Vaseline a blue feather an empty washing up liquid tube or paint tube an assortment of coloured felt. These were just some of the items that made up a list emailed around to colleagues at the beginning of January 2018. The ‘Ladybird in Focus’ case in the Ladybird […]

Changes to reading room bookings and self-service photography

If you’ve visited the reading room recently, you may have noticed that we’ve been rather busy. It’s terrific to see so many people, especially new visitors, making use of the collections. All the work we do behind the scenes is so that our collections can be accessed and enjoyed by the public. These range from […]

The MERL and Reading Museum: Working together

In a further boost to Reading’s cultural renaissance, the Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum will be working together as Museums Partnership Reading until 2022. The partnership is funded by Arts Council England’s (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation scheme, and will see the two museums using £250,000 per year to improve educational opportunities for young people, host joint exhibitions, […]

The history behind an absolute unit

Written by Dr Ollie Douglas, Curator of MERL Collections Intrigued by the photo of the‘absolute unit’ that’s been doing the rounds on social media? Why was this ram such a unit? Why is livestock so often large and… well, stocky? And why does the Museum of English Rural Life have massive numbers of photos, prints and paintings of enormous farm animals? Well, here’s a short cartoon made […]

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 […]

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 […]

What have we been up to? Our Country Lives Top 10 #2

We’ve been very busy over the last few months, so here’s our latest Top 10 run-down of what’s been happening… 1. Bringing the wagons down from their overhead positions was a delicate and pretty scary job for our conservator and team of specialists. See how it went. 2. We’ve grown! The extension to our welcome area now […]

Wellcome news for Our Country Lives!

Assistant Curator, Ollie Douglas shares some exciting project news… It has been hard keeping the news under wraps for the last few weeks, but it is very exciting to finally be able to share some news which will have a really significant impact on the Museum’s redevelopment. We are delighted to announce that The Wellcome Trust has […]

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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

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

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