2020 Vision: a Year in the Life of the Archive and Library Team

In 2020, The MERL and University of Reading Special Collections archive and library team faced an unprecedented situation. We closed our reading room and our access to the physical collections was severely limited. We lost the framework for providing our basic service, but this was not the defining factor of 2020 for the team. In […]

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 […]

#StillSpecial: Virtual Reading Room launch

Come on in! We are delighted to announce the launch of our Virtual Reading Room. When COVID-19 put a temporary halt to on-site access to collections, we started putting in place new services to enable access remotely. The VRR allows exploration of high-quality digital versions of books and documents by registered users, as well as […]

New “testbed” for digital archives funded by a National Archives grant

Throughout 2020 we have continued to find innovate ways to enable access to collections. This week our service has re-opened to the public and in the coming weeks we will be launching new digital services which will be talking about on social media using #StillSpecial. One big challenge, which will increasingly face all archive services, […]

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 […]

Update on COVID-19

We welcome the announcement that museums will be able to reopen from 4th July. The University of Reading Special Collections and the Museum of English Rural Life will not reopen straight away but we are working hard to put in place all the necessary measures to allow for a new kind of visit, ensuring the […]