University Museums and Special Collections

university of reading special collectionsThe University of Reading is recognised for the exceptional diversity and quality of its museums and collections, including three Designated collections of national and international importance:

To search for collections, browse our online collections database, Enterprise. Please see our Accessing the Collections page for guidance on using Enterprise and searching for collections.

A summer 2013 article in the alumni magazine, Connected, gives a taste of some of the archival highlights of our collections: Hidden Treasures (PDF)

The University Museums Group has released a short video exploring how university collections engage the public with their research.

The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL)

The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), with designated collections of over 1 million objects, archives, photographs, film and other library materials, is a pre-eminent resource for rural heritage. No comparable centre of collections, information and associated expertise in the subject area exists elsewhere in the UK.

For more information about MERL, please visit:
Museum of English Rural Life website >>>

The Samuel Beckett Archive

The Samuel Beckett Archive comprises around 8,000 items and is the most extensive collection of materials relating to the author and dramatist Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989) in the world. Dating back to the 1930s it is unique in the richness of its manuscript holdings including manuscript, typescript drafts, notebooks, annotated production texts, and books from Beckett's personal library.

For more information about the Samuel Beckett Archive, please visit:
The Samuel Beckett Archive >>>

The Archive of British Publishing and Printing

The Archive of British Publishing and Printing of over 15,000 boxes of manuscripts and printed items, bringing together the world's most extensive collection on British publishing activity in the 19th and 20th centuries up to the present time.

For more information about the Archive of British Publishing and Printing, please visit:
The Archive of British Publishing and Printing >>>

ure museum demonstrationIn addition, a number of significant departmental research and teaching museums and collections cover a broad range of disciplines: 

The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology

The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, the fourth most important collection of Greek ceramics in Britain, named after Professor P.N. Ure, the first Professor of Classics at Reading (1911 to 1946), and his wife and former pupil Annie D. Ure.

For more information about the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, please visit:
The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology >>>

The Cole Museum of Zoology

The Cole Museum of Zoology, a remarkably complete collection of specimens from every important animal group, assembled principally during the period 1907 to 1939 by the first Professor of Zoology at Reading, Francis Cole, reflects the diversity of animal life, including the complete skeleton of an Indian elephant, fossil invertebrates and displays on the biodiversity of Whiteknights Park.

For more information about the Cole Museum of Zoology, please visit:
The Cole Museum of Zoology >>>

Lettering, Printing and Graphic Design Collections

Housed in the Typography Department. For more information about this collection, please visit:
Lettering, printing and graphic design collections >>>

University Herbarium

A research and teaching facility, containing around 300,000 specimens of flowering plants, conifers, cycads, ferns, lycophytes and non-vascular plants.

For more information about the University Herbarium, please visit:
University Herbarium >>>

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