Established in Reading in 1951 to capture and record the rapidly changing countryside following the Second World War, the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading has reopened after £3.3m redevelopment.
The revamped museum of food, farming and the countryside now offers a fresh and modern perspective on the British countryside. As well as boasting more gallery space, its radically overhauled displays focus on different themes to challenge perceptions about rural England by revealing the historical and contemporary relevance of country life.
The radically altered public displays including new interactive, immersive explorations that reveal the story of country life. Highlights include ‘Kent’, an epic wall-hanging created for the Festival of Britain by the ‘Lost Modernist’ artist Michael O’Connell; a nationally important collection of wagons and carts; Women’s Land Army Clothing; livestock portraits; studio pottery by Michael Cardew; rare agricultural machinery and implements; a pair of Wellington boots belonging to Glastonbury Festival founder, Michael Eavis; an artificial bee inseminator and other curious ephemera.