Pop-up exhibitions

These new pop-up displays in the Museum's object store last for a single lunchtime but offer a chance to learn more about rarely seen items chosen by a specialist and drawn from the varied holdings of the University’s collections.


Autumn 2013

Martin Bell visit to MERLFishing around at MERL

Friday 8th November

  • 12.30 to 2.30pm - display open (drop-in)
  • 1.15pm - talk by guest curator (register)
  • Free

Professor Martin Bell, Head of Department of Archaeology, University of Reading

Don’t miss this rare chance to see behind the scenes and to explore some of the many artefacts in MERL’s rich collections that help to shed light on life on and around the watercourses of England and that connect to the world of experimental archaeology. These objects have been chosen by the University’s own Professor Martin Bell and he will be on hand (from 13.15 when he will give a short talk, to 2pm) to explain how such recent objects can help us to understand life in prehistory. As well as basketwork eel traps and fish spears, this temporary display will include a Welsh coracle and replica of an ancient ard!

Professor Martin Bell is a specialist in environmental change and experimental archaeology.


Waterhouse tankardDiscovering Waterhouse

Friday 22nd November

  • 12.30 to 2.30pm - display open (drop-in)
  • 1pm - talk by guest curator (register)
  • Free

Dr John Holmes, Department of English Literature, University of Reading

Come and explore a selection of objects and archival holdings relating to the architect Alfred Waterhouse, as drawn from the University of Reading Special Collections and reserve holdings of the Museum of English Rural Life. These items will be placed on temporary display in the stores of the Museum where they will be available for you to examine them over the course of a single lunchtime. The University’s own Dr John Holmes will be on hand to shed light on their history and to discuss the diverse activities of Waterhouse and his contemporaries. Waterhouse designed many buildings around the University of Reading including Foxhill and the oldest parts of the Museum's own premises!

 is a specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature.

Find out more about the Waterhouse Collection in the University's Special Collections

Things to do now

  • Plan your visit
  • Find out about the current MERL Seminar series

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