Chalk or Cheese? Winner announced!

The votes are in, the people have spoken and the wall hanging chosen for display in the new Museum of English Rural Life is…Kent! Over the past month we asked you to vote between our Kent and Cheshire wall hangings, two of a series of seven made by the artist Michael O’Connell for the 1951 Festival […]

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. […]

Chalk or cheese? Choosing a wall hanging

Written by Adam Koszary, Project Officer. Here at the MERL we have a problem. We need to decide which of our two enormous, beautifully decorated wall hangings to display, and we’d like your help. The wall hangings are two of seven which were originally displayed at the 1951 Festival of Britain, and were made by the ‘lost […]

Explore Your Archive: People Stories – Eve Balfour

The last of our People Stories, written by The Abbey School students, looks at the life of Lady Eve Balfour, co-founder of the Soil Association Lady Evelyn Balfour was born on the 16th July 1898. After studying agriculture at Reading University she went on to write The Living Soil and then co-founded The Soil Association in […]

Explore Your Archive: People Stories – Jean Young

One of the many topics we will be exploring in the museum’s new displays is rural healthcare. Our latest blog by Abbey School students focuses on the story of a 1940s District Nurse, Jean Young. Jean Young was a District Nurse/Midwife. This ambiguous job title in fact entirely sums up the role; for the first few weeks […]

Using history to help patients reminisce at Royal Berkshire Hospital

Written by Phillippa Heath, Audience Development Project Manager One important aspect of the Our Country Lives Activity Plan is the strengthening of links with our close neighbours the Royal Berkshire Hospital. As  our Audience Development Project Manager, I’ve been involved in one particular aspect of this partnership: an innovative reminiscence project using the MERL collections as […]

Our Country Lives update

Can you believe it’s Autumn already? Since our last update in May we’ve had an extremely busy Summer finishing our research, laying cement and visiting farmers. Here’s a round-up: 1. We’ve had exciting new research into our objects, such as this shepherd’s surprising connection to Thomas Beecham of Beecham’s pills. 2. We’ve finished the building of our new […]

#DisabilityStories – Labelling visual impairment

How do you write a label in under 50 words on a basket made by an anonymous, visually impaired basket-maker without appearing patronising and tokenistic? This question conveniently coincides with this week’s #CultureThemes topic of #DisabilityStories. The staff here at MERL are busily writing labels for our new galleries, covering overarching topics and themes, object […]

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 […]

Focus on Collections: Dragons

To celebrate St George’s Day we decided to delve into the object collection for dragons. Dragons are normally something you would keep well away from Museum stores. Messy eaters, far too large and prone to setting things on fire, they are possibly the least ideal animal to have in a storehouse full of dry baskets, […]

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

    Free Admission

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

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