Research post: X marks the spot

We’ve all been very busy researching nine new galleries for the Our Country Lives redevelopment, covering everything from wagon construction to rural fashion. What caught our eye recently, however, was a one-way, horse-drawn Butterfly plough. While delving into our accession files for its measurements we found this interesting little map tucked into a sheaf of […]

Our Country Lives update: Bringing our wagons down to earth

Alongside finalising gallery layouts, coming up with exciting ideas for interactive displays and filling in foundations for our extensions, our biggest update for you this week is the removal of our wagons from their monorail. We managed to finish the job in one day with the help of a specialist removal company, a fork-lift truck […]

Your country lives and your museum

Assistant Curator, Dr Ollie Douglas traces the Museum’s history of building links with communities and invites readers to get involved in our current project In the 1950s, when the Museum of English Rural Life was first established, countryside people were experiencing a period of massive change. Of course, the lives of people who live and […]

What have we been up to? An Our Country Lives update

A common reaction from people when we tell them that our galleries are closed is ‘Does that mean you’re all on holiday?’ Well, we’ve actually been intensely busy behind the scenes since November creating the new MERL! Here’s a round-up of some of the things we’ve been doing: 1. While the galleries have been closed, our […]

The return of King Alfred

It was just before Christmas that marked King Alfred’s return to Reading, 1143 years after the siege and loss of the town to Ivar the Boneless in 871 CE and Alfred’s subsequent exile to a swamp (where he took up a bit of baking). We’re not talking about the actual Alfred of course, the site of whose […]

Town and Country: William Shenstone & Leasowes Park

Written by Adam Koszary, Project Officer for Our Country Lives. How interdependent are town and country? How do they rely on each other, and where does one end and the other begin? It is a theme we’re exploring in great detail for Our Country Lives and, considering around 90% of English people live in urban areas, a […]

Changing Faces: Dismantling the old Museum

Written by Adam Koszary, Project Officer for Our Country Lives. The Museum has now been closed a little over two weeks, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy behind the scenes. Although visitors to our Archive & Library, steered through the shop to our tranquil Reading Room, may be entirely unaware of the scale of […]

Volunteers' Voice #16: Young people as volunteers

Written by Rob Davies, Volunteer Coordinator As part of the Our Country Lives project we are launching a series of projects to encourage young people (aged 11-25) to volunteer and engage with MERL. The age range is vast, with a wide variety of skills, abilities and interests within this target audience. You may ask: why are […]

Rural Reads review #8: 'Clay' by Melissa Harrison

Rob Davies reviews the latest rural read. For the September meeting, we read Clay by debut author Melissa Harrison. Clay is an unusual novel for Rural Reads because it is set firmly in a city; it is, however, about how people within an urban environment interact with the green spaces available to them. This is a theme […]

Dog Carts: Travel in style

Written by Adam Koszary, Project Officer. In my mind the idea of a dog cart is fairly funny. The idea of, say, a Pug or a French Bulldog pulling along bespoke, miniature carts is absurd, endearing and yet a little unsettling, like performing animals at the zoo. They are also some of my favourite objects […]

  • Visit us

    Visit Us

    We are now fully open.

    Free admission.

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

    Plan your visit
  • Visit us

    Visit Us

    We are now fully open.

    Free admission.

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

    Plan your visit