Weekly What’s On: 17th to 23rd March, 2014

You can find full details of all our forthcoming events and activities in our What’s On and MERL Families guides, which are now available from the Museum or to download from our website You can also see all events on our online calendar


BBC filming at MERLSeminar series: Untouchable England
MERL and the BBC: Rural re-enactment and gestural reconstruction in the 1950s
Dr Ollie Douglas, Assistant Curator, Museum of English Rural Life
Tuesday 18th March, 1pm
MERL’s earliest curators rapidly adopted the techniques of public history in order to salvage a way of life seen to be disappearing and cement a technology-centred approach to the past. During the 1950s, their short set-piece re-enactments played a prominent role in television broadcast contexts. This talk explores how reconstructive approaches to rural objects provided insight into the less tangible world of past gestures and actions.

This Seminar will be followed by a small pop-up exhibition in the Museum’s mezzanine store featuring objects used in television recordings or with connections to radio.

For full details of the series, visit our website


WW1 letterCollecting memories: WW1 roadshow
Wednesday 19th March, 10am to pm
Free, drop-in
Organised by students from the History Department, this WW1 Roadshow is an opportunity for members of the public to bring in their letters and photographs relating to WW1 in Berkshire to share with experts in First World War history. For details of this event, and more events in our WW1 programme, visit the MERL website 



Spectacular 2008 117Guided tour
Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 3-3.45pm
Free, booking advisable
Let our fully trained tour guides tell you the stories behind the objects on display and visit the object store to see MERL’s hidden treasures.




Planets mobileToddler time
Friday 21st March, 10-11am,
£2 per child, drop-in
Suitable for families with children aged 2-4
Come along to the Museum with your little ones and enjoy rhymes, songs and craft activities. This week we’ll be making planet mobiles to tie in with the weekend’s Science Week Stargazing events.


Reading Science Week events

Protest_poster_small‘Performing Protest’: riots against technological change in the 19C
Saturday 22nd March, 11.30am & 2.30pm
£4 (£2 concs) Book. Suitable for ages 16+
There are still tickets left for both performances of this hard-hitting dramatic event, part of Reading Science Week. Relive the causes and effects of the Swing Riots in Berkshire, and decide whether to support the peasants or the landlords. Book now to avoid disappointment. Call 0118 378 8660 or email merlevents@reading.ac.uk  For full details, and to view the trailer, visit the MERL website.


developments option 1 v2Stargazing: exploring the universe from the comfort of Reading
Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd March
6pm ’til late, free, drop-in
MERL is once again happy to host this Reading Science Week event. Fun for all the family, regardless of the weather. With the help of the local astronomical society, there will be the chance to look through some powerful telescopes, hear talks and have a go at activities.




Ricordate-croppedItaly at war: a selection from the archives
Tuesday 11th February to 30th March
Staircase hall, MERL
Free, drop-in, normal museum opening times
Highlights from the University’s fascinating records relating to Italian history. 



greenhamCollecting the countryside: 20th century rural cultures
Until Autumn 2014
Temporary exhibition space
Free, drop in, normal museum opening times
Since 2008 the Museum of English Rural Life has been adding even more objects to its collection, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures programme, in order to represent each decade of the last century. (Find out more in Curator, Isabel Hughes’ recent post) This exhibition gives a taste of what has been acquired and challenges visitors to suggest the modern-day objects that the Museum needs to collect for the future. The exhibition will help the Museum to explore how to incorporate more recent histories and representations of the English countryside into its displays as part of the new Our Country Lives project.


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