Visit us

Visit Us

The Museum is now fully open, following a major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Free Admission

The Museum of English Rural Life

University of Reading

Redlands Road



Plan my visit

Reading Room

The reading room provides access to MERL's library, archives and photographic collections and the University of Reading's other Special Collections.

The reading room is open between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. (Please note that on Thursday 26th January the reading room will remain open until 9pm as part of the Museum's extended hours on the last Thursday of the month! A great opportunity to visit if you can't make it during normal working hours!)

The collections are accessible to all researchers on completion of a registration form. Please bring some form of identification on your first visit.

In order to avoid disappointment, we suggest you contact us in advance of your visit indicating the items you wish to consult. This is because some items are stored offsite and cannot be retrieved immediately.  You can use our online catalogues to gather descriptions and references of items and collections.


Due to essential maintenance work, we regret to inform you that access to the MERL and Special Collections open access library corridor will be restricted or unavailable on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 16 May - Thursday 18 May
  • Tuesday 23 May - Friday 26 May

This will affect access to Special Collections and MERL open access library material, including books, periodicals and pamphlets.

Please accept our apologies for this inconvenience.

If you are planning to visit the Reading Room on these days, please inform of us of any requests you have for library material in advance by contacting

Please contact us for further assistance