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 […]

Tanya Harrod: Archaic Modernists: Women, Textiles and the Margins of Europe

Paddy Bullard reflects on Tanya Harrod’s seminar as part of the Department of English Literature and the MERL speaker series on the ‘Tangible and Intangible Countryside’ Tanya Harrod is the doyenne of modern folk art studies, and the most distinguished historian and critic of craft working in Great Britain today. She is best known as […]

Interview with Art Collections Officer, Part 1

Volunteer, Whitney continues her series of interviews with members of staff with a chat with Jacqueline Winston-Silk, Art Collections Officer, about her role. Can you give me a little background of the work you do here at MERL? I am based at the Museum and employed by the University of Reading. I manage the University’s Art Collections […]

The 'Lost Modernist': Michael O'Connell

Written by Adam Koszary, Project Officer. We’re asking you to help us decide which of our two wall hangings to display in the new Museum. Both were displayed at the 1951 Festival of Britain as part of a wider series exploring the British countryside, and have not been on public display for over 60 years. […]

An Interview with: Nitisha (Part 2: Conservation)

Following last week’s interview with Nitisha about her work in the Special Collections archives, this week Whitney talks to her about her first role in conservation here at MERL. 1. What made you get involved with conservation? I started volunteering with Fred the Conservator here in the Conservation studio because I wanted to explore conservation. I […]

How we went viral: a good story, good luck and good friends

Written by Adam Koszary, Project Officer. It all started with a story that, five or ten years ago, would have remained within the four walls of the museum and gone no further: our assistant curator found a dead mouse in a Victorian mouse trap. The trap was behind a glass case in our store; it […]

How a mouse died in our Victorian mouse trap

Written by Adam Koszary, Project Officer. If you’ve been on the internet for the past few days then you may have heard about the mouse which died in our Victorian mousetrap. We are very pleased and a little surprised to have gone viral, and since our original blog post have some updates on our rodent […]

155-year old mouse trap claims its latest victim

After logging onto their computers today, staff here at the MERL were greeted by an unusual email from the Assistant Curator: ‘There appears to be a dead mouse in this mousetrap…’ It began. ‘…which is not described as being there on the database.’ So, this retired rodent had managed to sneak past University of Reading […]

Plough Monday

Plough Monday falls on the first Monday after the twelfth night of Christmas, which is also the night of the Epiphany. It marks the beginning of the English agricultural year and when ploughmen traditionally returned to the fields to prepare the Spring crops. Still celebrated in some parts of the the north and east of […]

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    The Museum is now fully open, 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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