Weekly What’s On: 17th to 23rd February

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 This week we have lots of half term activities as well as a seminar, guided tours and exhibitions…


Half term family fun!!

jethro 8 cutout flip

For full details of all the family friendly activities at MERL, visit the MERL families web page






Family tours
Tuesday 18th February, 11.30am & 2.30pm
Free, drop-in, suitable for families with children of all ages
Join rural characters from our family tour guides team for a fun interactive 30-minute tour of the museum and hear their stories of what is was once like to live and work in the countryside.


Clarice Cliff ceramics
Wednesday 19th February. 10am-12.30pm & 1.30-4pm
£3 per child, drop-in, suitable for families with children aged 4+
Paint your very own Clarice Cliff inspired ceramic plate using her pieces and MERL’s garden to inspire your designs. Your beautiful plate will be ready to take home at the end of the session. With artist Julie Roberts.


Metallic marvels
Thursday 20th February, 10-11.30am, 11.30am-1pm & 2-3.30pm
Explore the beautifully engraved metal work in our current exhibition and create your very own intricately designed piece of metal art to take home.


Plaster mice
Friday 21st February, 10am to 12.30pm & 1.30-4pm
£2 per child, drop-in, For early years and above
Become a sculptor for the day! Join us to make a plaster of paris mouse, inspired by the Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson stool in our exhibition


Other events and exhibitions

Wind_in_the_willows_by_Kenneth_GrahameMERL Seminar series: Untouchable England
‘I catch them at intervals’: knowing and not-knowing in  The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Dr Neil Cocks, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Reading
Tuesday 18th February, 1pm
Dr Neil Cocks will discuss issues of language and narration in the central, mystical chapter of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.
Followed by a pop-up exhibition of editions of the book.

For full details of the series, visit our website


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




Spectacular 2008 117Guided tours
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.




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.