What's On 2015

Hiroshima tilesHiroshima at 70

  • 20 July - 8 September
  • Museum of English Rural Life & Special Collections Service, Staircase hall
  • 20 October – 6 December
  • Usual opening hours, Library, Whiteknights campus

In 2011, the University of Reading received a remarkable and moving gift from the University of Hiroshima in Japan: a shattered roof tile collected from the riverbed near the hypocentre of the atomic bomb attack of 6 August 1945. The gift was made in recognition of the fact that the University had sent books in response to an appeal by its Japanese counterparts in 1951, as part of a project to establish an international peace library. This display, which includes the roof tile fragments themselves, marks the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.

Find out more about the items featured in this display on our blog: Hiroshima at 70


Rural reads plusRural Read plus book club

  • Last Thursday of the month
  • 5.30-7pm
  • Free
  • £1.50 for tea/coffee and biscuits

During the Museum of English Rural Life's redevelopment project, the galleries are closed to the public and so the Museum's Rural Reads book club has expanded its reach to draw on the University's vast Special Collections for reading inspiration.

Along with rural themed books, Rural Reads plus will have the potential to read anything from Ian Flemming to Mills & Boon, chosen by you.

Everyone is welcome to come along and join in an informal discussion in the atmospheric setting of the beautiful Victorian Staircase Hall.

For details visit the Rural Reads book club 


Silchester - Life on the Dig 

  • 22 September – 27 November 2015
  • 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • Staircase Hall, Museum of English Rural Life
  • Admission free

The University of Reading is very pleased to be hosting a special display of work by artist, Jenny Halstead. Jenny spent nine weeks in the summer of 2014 at the excavation of Calleva Atrebatum recording the last year of the dig. She has been invited by Professor Mike Fulford (Archaeology) to be Artist-in-Residence, capturing the life of the site, its setting up, its workings and its treasures in sketches and paintings. 

For more information visit www.jennyhalstead.co.uk


Trooper PottsSpecial Collections Service Seminar Series:
1915-2015: The Great War remembered

  • Tuesdays in November 2015
  • 1.00 – 2.00pm
  • Conference room, Museum of English Rural Life
  • Free admission
  • Places are limited. To book a place, email merlevents@reading.ac.uk or call 0118 378 8660

This series of lunchtime seminars looks back at the events of 100 years ago, and the many ways in which we seek to preserve the memory of the First World War.

  • Commemorating Gallipoli – The HMS M.33 Project
  • 3 November

HMS M.33 is a unique survivor. Launched in May 1915 she is the sole remaining British veteran of that year’s bloody Gallipoli Campaign and the only British warship from the First World War that will be open to the public during the centenary year. In this seminar Dr Matthew Sheldon from the National Museum of the Royal Navy will introduce the story of this remarkable ship, and discuss the challenges of conserving it.

  • Trooper Potts VC: memories of Gallipoli
  • 10 November

As we approach Armistice Day, we take a look at Reading’s most celebrated participant in the Great War, Fred Potts: October 2015 will see the unveiling of a memorial to him in the town, following a popular campaign. Brigadier Tony Verey QVRM TD DL and Captain Andrew French, Curators of the Berkshire Yeomanry Museum, will join Richard Bennett, Chairman of the Trooper Potts Memorial Trust to discuss Potts’s life and the experiences of his comrades at Gallipoli. They will also explain about the design and construction of the memorial and the educational work they have undertaken.

  • A University at War: some new discoveries
  • 17 November

In 2013 the University of Reading began a project to find out more about the people behind the names on its war memorial and in its memorial book. This research, undertaken by volunteers, has already led to some fascinating and surprising discoveries. In this seminar archive volunteer Jeremy Jones will discuss what he has learnt, in conversation with University Archivist Guy Baxter.


Explore archives logoTea & Testimony: History on TV

  • Monday 16th November
  • 11am-12pm
  • Booking required
  • Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX

As part of the national Explore Your Archive campaign, Reading historians Professor Kate Williams and Dr Jacqui Turner will chat about the effect of the media on public history. Is history now just another commodity? Can archives really be described as entertainment? How accurate is the new Suffragette film? And what’s the inside track on the Great British Bake Off?

Join Kate and Jacqui in conversation at the Museum of English Rural Life, or tune in to the live webcast via Periscope. The event will be followed by tea and coffee, and there will be a pop-up exhibition from the University’s rich archives.

To book a place at this free event, please email merlevents@reading.ac.uk  or call 0118 378 8660.


Being Human logoBeing Human Festival 2015: Books in unexpected places

  • 21 November, 2015
  • 11am - 4pm
  • Admission free, booking required
  • Museum of English Rural Life, Special Collections Service, & The Learning Hub
    London Road Campus

The University of Reading is delighted to be part of Being Human Festival 2015, the UK's only festival of the humanities.

Join us to celebrate the University of Reading's research in Heritage and Creativity, showcasing material from its renowned archives and collections. Listen to talks about books in burials, philosophy in the trenches, poetry in Roman art, books in post-war reconstruction, in art and in excavations. Take part in a workshop to share your reflections on books in the workplace, and hear about books in hospitals and in the mills. See displays of rare books, botanical notebooks, children's books, archaeological finds from across the University's museums and collections.

Families can join in fun and interactive sessions at The Learning Hub.

See the full programme 

For further details and to book, email events@reading.ac.uk or call 0118 378 6718


Huntley Palmer Christmas biscuitsHuntley & Palmers: A Christmas Selection

  • 30 November 2015 – 8 January 2016
  • 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding University Christmas closure dates)
  • Staircase Hall, Museum of English Rural Life
  • Free

This seasonal display shows off some of the visual delights in the University’s extensive archive of local biscuit manufacturer Huntley & Palmers.






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