Collections Database

Object Collections

Bibliography of British
and Irish Rural History

The Library

Image Library


Using the Reading Room

Object Collections

When the Museum was founded in 1951 by the University of Reading, it was the first specialist museum of farming and rural life to be established in England and so was able to acquire large collections of high quality material at a time when mechanisation was bringing great changes to the countryside. It also played an important pioneering part in the formulation of procedures for the processing, cataloguing and conservation of such material. Today, it is active at a national and international level in all aspects of rural museums.

The Collections

The collections cover the broad range of material relating to farming, rural crafts and industries, and country life. The bulk of the items date from the period 1850 to 1950. Pre 1850 farm tools and equipment are rare in England. Post 1950, the sheer range and size of farm machinery are inhibitors given the level of exhibition and storage space that we have available. This is why so much emphasis has been placed on reflecting this period through the two dimensional collections - especially the photographs and technical literature - of the Museum of English Rural Life.

Key strong points where the collections are of national importance include: