Did you know we can bring The MERL to you?

Well, not all of it, but we do have some wonderful volunteer speakers who can bring a taste of what the museum has to offer to your group meeting!

Now that groups are starting to meet face-to-face again, we’re delighted to offer speakers to talk about a range of themes relating to The MERL. Our speakers will travel locally (within Berkshire, or around 45 minutes drive from Reading) to give a presentation at your meetings.

All our speakers are extremely knowledgeable volunteers, who have researched the themes themselves, using The MERL archives, library and object collections enabling them to explore subjects in depth. Each talk focuses on a different theme, but all talks include information about the history of The MERL and its collections, the current activities of the museum and forthcoming events and exhibitions.

Talks available

Extraordinary Women

Discover the fascinating lives and careers of six extraordinary women from the collections at The MERL and the University’s Special Collections

Rural Protest: The Swing Riots

Focussing on the story of Berkshire’s own William Winterbourne and the Swing Riots, this talk uses The MERL collections to explore the strong tradition of rural protest

’51 Voices: Re-examining 1951 (Book now for talks from February 2022)

The MERL is celebrating its 70th year in 2021 with an ambitious project inviting a diverse range of contributors to take a fresh look at objects and themes relating to 1951. For this talk, our volunteers focus on the Festival of Britain, the Women’s Institute and The Archers.

Evacuees in the Countryside (Book now for talks from September 2022)

This talk will draw on The MERL’s extensive Evacuee Archive.

Further information & how to book

Talks are free, but we suggest a donation of at least £40 to cover travel and admin costs.

Please use the form below to send an enquiry. As our talks are given by volunteers, bookings are subject to availability.

Please note your booking is provisional until you have received a confirmation email from our Programmes Assistant. If you have any questions please contact us at merlevents@reading.ac.uk.

Talk Enquiry Form