Weekly what’s on: 22nd Sept to 5th October

Full details of our events this term can be found on our website, and events in the Our Country Lives programme are listed here


BeckettSelfPortraitandChaplinweb597777_36826Samuel Beckett in London – the Murphy Notebooks
Weds 1st to Saturday 4th October

As part of  the University of Reading’s Beckett Week, a celebration of the University’s internationally renowned collection of manuscripts from the Nobel Prize-winning writer will be on show at MERL. The display showcases fascinating items from a key period in the famous author’s life, including the Whoroscope Notebook and the Murphy manuscripts.



jethro 8 cutout flipToddler Time
Friday 3rd October, 10-11am, £2 per child, drop-in
From this month, Toddler Time will be monthly (first Friday of the month) and we’re moving (find out why) to The Learning Hub at the Institute of Education, right next door to MERL. Please come to MERL (to pay and park as usual) and we’ll go over to the new venue together. We’ll still be enjoying songs, rhymes and stories followed by a craft activity inspired by the Museum’s collections and garden.


country lives logoInformation Day,
Saturday 4th October, 2-4pm
Free, drop-in

Come and see the current displays for one last time, learn more about the project, see the first artist impressions of some of the proposed new galleries, and find out how you can get involved…


  • Hear a short presentation outlining plans for the new galleries, facilities and activities
  • See artists impressions and initial plans for the new galleries
  • See some of the hidden treasures from the stores which will feature in the new displays
  • Have a go at object handling – an example of the kind of activity which will be available in the new museum
  • Take part in an ‘image keywording’ activity with staff to discuss contrasting images of the countryside & help inform one of the new galleries focussing on percetpions of the countryside (Read this blog post to find out more)
  • Make a chocolate box decorated (as seen at the Berkshire Show!) with nostalgic rural images and see the objects which inspired them
  • Find out about the new Family Forum & Youth Forum and sign up to take part in consultations to have your say in the future of MERL
  • Enjoy delicious tea & cake!


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’ blog post) This exhibition gives a taste of what has been acquired. 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 Our Country Lives project.

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