Press Releases

Museum of English Rural Life offers behind-the-scenes tours to celebrate Heritage Open Days and the Archive Awareness Campaign – University of Reading

Release Date : 15 August 2007

Reading's Museum of English Rural Life will throw open its doors and offer exclusive access-all-areas tours as part of the national 2007 Heritage Open Days and Archives Awareness Campaign, next month.

The Museum (MERL), which is owned and managed by the University of Reading, will be offering behind-the-scenes tours of the object and archive stores and St Andrews House, a former Palmer family home.

Caroline Gould, Archivist at MERL, who is organising the event said: "This year we are very excited to be including the museum's archive stores in our tours.

"The tour will give the public a unique opportunity to see how our archives are stored and cared for. At MERL we are also on the lookout for ways to promote the Archives Awareness campaign, so it's great to be able to bring our archives to the attention of the public in this way.

"Last year's event was very popular as local people were very keen to see inside the beautiful Grade II listed building, which is of historical significance as it was originally designed by the Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse as a private home for a rather famous local man - Alfred Palmer."

The access all areas open days will be held from Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th September.

Heritage Open Days celebrates local architecture and culture by allowing visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee.

Heritage Open Days provides visitors with a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy these sometimes hidden, often curious and always interesting places in English cities, towns and villages - and completely free of charge.

The Archive Awareness Campaign is an ongoing campaign, supported by The National Council on Archives, The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and The National Archives. Through a series of events throughout the year it aims to celebrate and uncover the amazing wealth of material contained within archives to a wider audience.

Tours will take place on September 6th to 9th at 3pm at the Museum of English Rural Life on Redlands Road. Places are limited so booking is recommended. Please call 0118 378 8660 or email Merl Events. Further information can be found at the MERL website.


Note for media: Media are welcome to attend. If you wish to come along, please contact Alison Hilton, marketing officer, on 0118 378 8660

Notes for editors:

1. More information about the Museum of English Rural Life

The Museum of English Rural Life, in Redlands Road, Reading, was founded by the University of Reading in 1951 to reflect and record the changing face of farming and the countryside. It houses designated collections of national importance that span the full range of objects, archives, photographs, film and books. Today, it forms part of the University's Museums and Collections Service. The Museum operates as a major resource and research centre for the history of food, farming and the countryside with links into the School of History and other academic departments at the University.

2. More information About the University of Reading

The University of Reading is one of the foremost research-led universities in the UK. Founded in the nineteenth century and gaining a Royal Charter in 1926, we offer a wide range of programmes from the pure and applied sciences to languages, social sciences and fine art. New research and the latest thinking continually feed into undergraduate teaching, with our academic staff working at the forefront of their fields of expertise.


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