Reading – Museum of English Rural Life (Upstairs Stores)

I like it when museums do this, which is placing items from their stores on public display rather than keeping them hidden and inaccessible. The National Railway Museum do this particularly well with the Warehouse, now called the North Shed (but I prefer Warehouse so I’m going to persist in calling it that). The Museum of English Rural Life have clearly spent some money on their set-up, but it’s visitor friendly and it keeps everything safe, but still visible.

Some of the clothing, including smocks and the like.

Bits from coffins, which to be fair are probably a little harder to incorporate into the main displays.

There’s no end of material on these shelves, and there’s also an area at the back which can’t be accessed without a prior appointment, but this has even more items visible.

The problem with running a museum on English rural life is that quite a lot of the exhibits are really quite bulky.

Anyway, I liked this upstairs section to the museum, there’s an exploration element to the whole arrangement. The museum has a total of 25,000 items and only a limited amount of space to display them, but they’re used what they have really well. They’ve also carefully, and no doubt laboriously, listed everything in their collections and this is available at https://merl.reading.ac.uk/merl-collections/search-and-browse/databases/.