Update: Reading Room to re-open to all researchers

From 14 April 2021 we will be providing access to collections through the Special Collections Service reading room for all those requiring it, although capacity remains limited to enable social distancing. We will continue to provide alternative access through our digital access to collections service. If you would like to make a reading room booking, […]

UPDATE: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS READING ROOM NOW CLOSED

Following the Government’s announcement of a national lockdown on 4 January 2021, the Special Collections Reading Room will be closed until further notice. If you require access to the collections, we will aim to provide this through our digital access to collections service. You can find out more about our collections through our Special Collections […]

UPDATE: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND READING ROOM TO REMAIN OPEN

Following the latest Government announcement that Berkshire will enter Tier 3 on Saturday 19 December 2020, we will be making some changes to our Special Collections Service in the New Year. We will provide access to collections through the Special Collections Service reading room after the Christmas break, on Tuesday 5 January 2021, for academic […]

UPDATE: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS READING ROOM NOW OPEN TO ALL RESEARCHERS

In line with the latest Government announcement that Reading will enter Tier 2 at the end of the national lockdown, the reading room will be open to all researchers from Wednesday 2 December 2020. The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) will also reopen on 2 December. Please note that we can only accept reading […]

Research in Lockdown: the ‘Bees in the Collections’ UROP project

Many research projects have been disrupted or have come to a halt with the lockdowns imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we have been cheered and inspired by reports from a number of our resilient students and researchers who have found ways to continue their study and research during this difficult time. Following on […]

UPDATE: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND READING ROOM TO REMAIN OPEN

Following the latest Government regulations in response to the coronavirus pandemic, The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) will close to the public at 5pm on Wednesday 4 November 2020 until the end of the lockdown period. However, from Thursday 5 November 2020, we will continue to provide access to collections through the Special Collections […]

Giovanni Battista Piranesi and the glory of Rome

by Fiona Melhuish, UMASCS Librarian Hidden away in our collections store, amongst the rows of archive boxes, are the oversize book shelves, and the Overstone Folio Large sequence of the Overstone Library. Amongst the many treasures of this collection are a number of volumes of engravings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78), one of the greatest […]

Update: Bookings now open for the Special Collections Reading Room

We are very pleased to announce that we are now able to take bookings for readers to access our archive and library materials in the Special Collections Service reading room from Tuesday 8 September 2020. If you would like to make a booking, please ensure that you read the updated reading room guidance before contacting […]

Update: Re-opening of Special Collections Service Reading Room

We are looking forward to welcoming researchers back to The MERL and the University of Reading Special Collections reading room from Tuesday 8 September 2020. This includes all the Museum’s galleries, our reading room, library and archive, and the shop, café and garden. We have greatly missed you during these difficult months, and are overjoyed […]

A cabinet of curiosities : Ole Worm’s ‘Museum Wormianum’ (1655)

Written by Fiona Melhuish, UMASCS Librarian The history of public museums is also a history of private collectors and collecting, as many of the world’s oldest museums began as the personal collections of wealthy individuals and families. Some of these collections took the form of ‘cabinets of curiosities’ (also known in German as wunderkammer or wonder-rooms), […]