Reading Museum

Reading Museum Art Gallery
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Welcome to the Reading Museum. Explore our eleven galleries of amazing objects local and global. There’s something for everyone from biscuit tins to beetles, Romans to Rodin. We halso have an exciting programme of temporary exhibitions.

The Museum offers a host of family friendly activities and facilities, including hands-on workshops suitable for all ages from toddlers to adults.

Our cafe offers home-made cakes, fair-trade tea and coffee. In the shop you can browse a range of gifts that includes Huntley & Palmers biscuits and tins, Reading memorabilia and Victorian-style toys. Follow the links to find out more.

We offer a comprehensive education service available through our Hands-On Learning programme. Call for more details.

Admission is free to the Riverside Museum at Blake's Lock, which is open every day.

Venue Type:

Museum

Opening hours

Tues-Sat 1000-1600
Sunday & Bank Holidays 1100-1600

Closed: Monday - except Half Term (October and February 10.00-16.00)

Admission charges

Entry to the Reading Museum is free.

Additional info

There is no parking immediately outside the Museum.

The Museum is 2 minutes walk from Reading railway station.

Nearest car parks are at Garrard St, Queens Rd, The Oracle and Reading station.

At the Reading Museum you can explore the social and natural history of Reading and surrounding area, including:

The Biscuit Town: Uncover the story behind biscuit makers Huntley & Palmers

Learn about the daily life and fascinating history of the once-splendid Reading Abbey.

Explore what the Romans did for us in the Silchester Gallery of Roman Life.

Britain's copy of the Bayeux Tapestry - displayed in its magnificent 70 metre entirety in a purpose-built gallery. This faithful replica was made by 35 skilled Victorian women embroiderers in 1885.(THERE ARE REGULAR FREE GUIDED-TOURS EVERY SATURDAY 14.15-15.00!)

Changing visual art and special exhibitions.

Collection details

World Cultures, Weapons and War, Trade and Commerce, Toys and Hobbies, Social History, Photography, Natural Sciences, Music, Inland Waterways, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archives, Archaeology

Key artists and exhibits

  • Huntley & Palmers.
  • Biscuit Town.
  • Biscuit tins.
  • Reading Abbey.
  • Sumer is incumen in.
  • Forbury Gardens.
  • Reading Festival.
  • Reading Festival history.
  • Britain's Bayeux Tapestry.
  • C20 art.
  • Box Room gallery.
  • Marcus Adams. Gilbert Adams.
  • Alan Caiger Smith.
  • Social and natural history of Reading.
  • Silchester Roman collection.
  • Madejski Art Gallery.
  • John Madejski Art Gallery.
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Thames Stories: Art and Archaeology

  • 4 April — 4 October 2015 *on now

Objects from the museum’s art and archaeology collections tell tales and answer questions about the River Thames. Has the river always been where it is today? What has been found in the Thames and by whom? Why have so many artists made paintings of Caversham Bridge? Most of the objects were found in the non-tidal Thames between Lechlade and Teddington. They include mysteries and surprises from the Stone Age to the present day. Enjoy our Thames stories and join in the related events and talks.

LoV

Legacy of Valour - The Story of Indian Soldiers in the Great War

  • 2 August 2015 — 10 January 2016 *on now

This display highlights the significant contribution made by Indian soldiers during the First World War, complementing the special exhibition in the Victorian Gallery.

Legacy of Valour

Legacy of Valour - The Story of Indian Soldiers in the Great War

  • 2 — 31 August 2015 *on now

The story of the significant contribution made by Indian soldiers during the First World War, this community exhibition features rare historic photos and archives. The result of a heritage project undertaken by the local Punjabi community, Legacy of Valour will tell a proud history of their forefathers, who fought alongside allied forces in the Great War.

Silchester: Life on the Dig

  • 8 December 2015 — 7 February 2016

Last summer Jenny Halstead was artist in residence for the final year of excavations by the University of Reading at the Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum. Find some of her sketchbooks and drawings together with all the completed paintings on a loop, beside the extraordinary artefacts from Calleva excavated by Victorians in the museum’s Silchester Annexe. Look out for accompanying workshops with Jenny ‘sketchbooks – creative story lines’ and, in response to requests, another chance to join a Practical Introduction to Archaeological Ceramics Study Day, coming up in January 2016.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Tea and Talk at Two: Thames Stories Art

  • 4 August 2015 From 2pm

Walk and talk: Look at the Thames Stories exhibition with curator Elaine Blake and see how the river has inspired artists. After the talk enjoy a cream tea in our Palmers café (pick up your voucher when paying).

Admission

£5, pay on the day, booking essential.
Please phone 0118 937 3400 to book.

The Stinking Tudors: Tussie Mussies

  • 4 August 2015 10-11am, 11:15am-12:15pm, 1-2pm, 2:15-3:15pm

Make a small bouquet of herbs and flowers (a Tussie Mussie) to hide any horrible Tudor smells! Then find out how the Tudors dressed in all their finery and take a picture next our fabulous portrait of Elizabeth I.

Ages 5+, Families, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10

Admission

£3, pay in the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Assistant Curators

Assistant Curators: Ancient History

  • 6 August 2015 10am-12pm, 1-3pm

A unique chance to handle ancient objects from around the world and learn more about how curators investigate objects. Then get creative and head back to our activity room to model your own clay artefact to take away. Please note that children are dropped off for our booked activities.
Ages 7+, 2-hour sessions starting at 10am & 1pm

Admission

£7, booking essential.

Please phone 0118 937 3400 to book.

Masks

Make & Take: Summer Masks

  • 12 August 2015 10-10:30am, 10:30-11am, 11-11:30am, 11:30am-12pm, 1-1:30pm, 1:30-2pm, 2-2:30pm, 2:30-3pm

Join us in the Forbury Gardens to decorate either a lion mask inspired by the statue of the Maiwand Lion or one of the smaller inhabitants of the Forbury - a buzzing bee or ladybird! (In the event of bad weather please come to the Museum.)
Families, half hour sessions 10am – 12pm & 1pm – 3pm

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Admission

50p, pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Celtic Arm Painting

Woad Arm Painting

  • 18 August 2015 10-11am, 11:15am-12:15pm, 1-2pm, 2:15-3:15pm

The Romans feared the Iron Age Celtic tribes who decorated themselves in woad before battle. Have a go at painting your arms in mystical blue patterns.
Ages 5+, Families, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Admission

£3 pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Headdresses

Make & Take: Reading Museum Festival Headdresses

  • 26 August 2015 10-10:30am, 10:30-11am, 11-11:30am, 11:30am-12pm, 1-1:30pm, 1:30-2pm, 2-2:30pm, 2:30-3pm

Come along to the Forbury Gardens and fashion your own bright carnival/festival headdress. Then show us your best dance moves! (In the event of bad weather please come to the Museum.)
Families, half hour sessions 10am – 12pm & 1pm – 3pm

Admission

50p, pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Walking with Dinosaurs

  • 1 September 2015 10-11am, 11:15am-12:15pm, 1-2pm, 2:15-3:15pm

Enjoy making some silly dinosaur clawed feet and explore the Museum in the last week of the summer holidays.
Ages 5+, Families, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Admission

£3, pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Heritage Open Days: Reading Museum Store Tour

  • 10 September 2015 11am-12pm, 1:30-2:30pm, 3:30-4:30pm

Join us for a tour behind the scenes of our south Reading store. We will show how we record the collection and manage the store to maintain high standards of collection care. During the tour we will look at some objects and excavation records relating to Reading Abbey. Tours are in small groups led by Museum staff and will last around one hour.
Adults and older children. We regret that there is no wheelchair access.
11am, 1.30pm & 3.30pm

Admission

Free, numbers are limited so booking is essential (0118 937 3400 or email mail@readingmuseum.org.uk)
Directions to the store will be sent a few days before the tour.

Heritage Open Days: Reading Abbey Quarter Tours

  • 11 September 2015 10:30am-12pm, 11am-12:30pm, 11:30am-1pm, 12-1:30pm, 12:30-2pm, 1-2:30pm, 1:30-3pm, 2-3:30pm
  • 12 September 2015 10:30am-12pm, 11am-12:30pm, 11:30am-1pm, 12-1:30pm, 12:30-2pm, 1-2:30pm, 1:30-3pm, 2-3:30pm

These tours are an opportunity to learn more about the Abbey Quarter, which features a number of historic monuments within the former precinct of Reading Abbey. Visitors will be able to enter the Abbey Ruins site, which is currently closed to the public, to hear more about the history of the Abbey and the ongoing conservation plans for Reading's most historic monument, including the Council's Heritage Lottery Fund application.

You are advised to wear appropriate shoes due to the uneven terrain. No flip-flops or high heels will be allowed. Safety hard hats will be provided. Please meet in the Museum entrance ten minutes before each tour.

10.30am – 12pm 12.30pm - 2pm
11am – 12.30pm 1pm – 2.30pm
11.30am - 1pm 1.30pm – 3pm
12pm – 1.30pm 2pm – 3.30pm

Adults and older children

Admission

Free, booking essential (0118 937 3400 or email mail@readingmuseum.org.uk) – 12 places max per tour

Heritage Open Days: Father Willis Organ Demonstrations

  • 13 September 2015 2-3pm, 3-4pm

Free talk and demonstration of the historic Father Willis Organ by members of the Berkshire Organists' Association, followed by an opportunity for members of the public to play the instrument.

www.berkshireorganists.org.uk

All ages, 1-hour sessions starting at 2pm & 3pm

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Free, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the Museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Reading Foundation for Art Store and Gallery Tours

  • 19 September 2015 11am-12pm, 1:30-2:30pm

Join Foundation trustees to celebrate their 40 years of collecting art for Reading with one-hour tours of their favourite Foundation artworks. For a taster browse the collection at www.readingfoundationforart.org.uk.

Adults and older children, 11am & 1.30pm

Admission

Free, booking essential (0118 937 3400 or email Elaine.Blake@reading.gov.uk) – 12 places max per tour

Tea and Talks at Two: Fair Mile Hospital, The Victorian Asylum

  • 10 October 2015 From 2pm

Drawing from Berkshire’s extensive records and reflecting on the 170th anniversary of the great Victorian mental health acts, County Archivist Mark Stevens offers his thoughts about the asylum system and its legacy. An event marking World Mental Health Day 2015. After the talk enjoy a cream tea in our Palmers Café (pick up your voucher when paying).
Adults and older children, 2pm

Admission

£5, pay on the day, booking essential
(0118 937 3400)

Tea and Talks at Two: From Babylon to Reading

  • 20 October 2015 From 2pm

How a Victorian collector brought 3,000-year-old objects from ancient Iraq, what they tell us about its long-gone peoples and their influence today.
Cornelius Cavendish talks about the great Victorian archaeologists of 19th century Iraq, one of whom was his great-grandfather Hormuzd Rassam, whose children he met as a boy. After the talk enjoy a cream tea in our Palmers Café (pick up your voucher when paying).
Adults and older children, 2pm

Admission

£5, pay on the day, booking essential
(0118 937 3400)

Schoolroom

Victorian Schoolroom Experience

  • 27 October 2015 11:30am-12:15pm, 1:15-2pm, 2:30-3:15pm

Meet a Victorian schoolteacher and re-learn the ‘3Rs’. A 45-minute experience for adults and children over 5 in our unique Victorian classroom.
Ages 5+, 11.30am, 1.15pm & 2.30pm

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£1 per person, drop in (35 places max per session)*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the Museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Zombie Norman Knights

  • 27 October 2015 10-11am, 11:15am-12:15pm, 1-2pm, 2:15-3:15pm

Make a ghostly helmet complete with arrow that could have been worn by one of the Norman knights in our Bayeux Tapestry, ready to scare your friends at Halloween!
Ages 5+, Families, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

£3, pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the Museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Make & Take: Paper Bag Monsters

  • 28 October 2015 10-10:30am, 10:30-11am, 11-11:30am, 11:30am-12pm, 1-1:30pm, 1:30-2pm, 2-2:30pm, 2:30-3pm

Make a squishy, squashy, googly, scary paper bag monster to scare your friends.
Families, half-hour sessions 10am - 12pm & 1pm - 3pm

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

50p, pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the Museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Assistant Curators: Skulls, Teeth and Body Parts!

  • 29 October 2015 10am-12pm, 1-3pm

A unique chance to handle animal skulls and other items from our natural history collection and learn more about how curators investigate objects. Then head back to our activity room to model your own fantastic body part to take away. Please note that children are dropped off for our booked activities.
Ages 7+, 2-hour sessions starting at 10am & 1pm

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Admission

£7, booking essential (0118 937 3400)

Creepy Crawly Headbands

  • 29 October 2015 10-11am, 11:15am-12:15pm, 1-2pm, 2:15-3:15pm

Transform your headband with dangling legs, fangs and eyes in these fun drop-in sessions before Halloween.
Ages 5+, Families, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm

Admission

£3, pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the Museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Study Day: Landscape Painting Yesterday and Today

  • 21 November 2015 10:30am-3:30pm

Art historian Sandra Smith leads a study day beginning with a general introduction to the idea of landscape as an artistic genre, with particular concentration on the development of landscape in modern art. Later we will explore painted, drawn and printed landscapes and the day will include a guided visit to the A Sense of Place exhibition.
Adults, 10am – 3.30pm

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£32, to book go to www.weareading.org.uk or phone 0118 9464137

Town Centre Walk: What Reading's Made Of

  • 5 December 2015 10:30am-12pm

An easy walk to look at the origins and features of building materials used in Reading town centre, from locally made Victorian brick to modern exotic facing stone. Led by Lesley Dunlop of Berkshire Geoconservation Group.

All ages, 10.30am - 12.00pm (meet in the Town Hall reception)

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£2 adults (children free), pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the Museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Family Workshop: Vintage Christmas Gift Wrap

  • 22 December 2015 10-11am, 11:15am-12:15pm, 1-2pm, 2:15-3:15pm

Print your own fabulous vintage inspired gift wrap on brown paper and sprinkled with glitter. Aimed at both adults and children.
Ages 5+, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

£5 per person, pay on the day, drop in*


*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the Museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Family Workshop: Huntley & Palmers Christmas Sweets

  • 23 December 2015 10-11am, 11:15am-12:15pm, 1-2pm, 2:15-3:15pm

Be inspired by our Huntley & Palmers collection and make your own sweets in a decorative container to take away. Aimed at both adults and children.
Ages 5+, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm

Admission

£5 per person, pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the Museum, particularly during our busy half terms.

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Activity Cart

Visit us throughout the half term and enjoy Medieval themed art and craft activities.

How to obtain

All ages, FREE, drop in

Bayeux Tapestry Tours

http://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/news/diary.asp

Enjoy a guided tour of the famous full-size facsimile Tapestry. Tours are suitable for all ages and take place on Saturdays at 14.15-15.00.

How to obtain

There is no need to book for the tours and they are free - just turn up.

Museum Surgery

EVERY THURSDAY
Visitors can discover more about the collections, or ask for help in identifying interesting objects (NB no valuations can be given).
12.00pm - 4.00pm

How to obtain

FREE, drop in

Tales for Tots

http://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/news/diary.asp

Drop in for a story inspired by and using objects from the Reading Museum collection. Stories are suitable for children aged 0-5 years and take place on term time Wednesdays, 10.30-11.30.

How to obtain

Stories are free and there is no need to book - just drop in.

Reading Museum
Town Hall
Blagrave Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 1QH
England

Website

www.readingmuseum.org.uk

www.bayeuxtapestry.org.uk

www.huntleyandpalmers.org.uk

E-mail

General enquiries

mail@readingmuseum.org.uk

Education enquiries

education@readingmuseum.org.uk

Collection enquiries

curator@readingmuseum.org.uk

Reading Foundation for Art enquiries

rffa@readingmuseum.org.uk

Telephone

0118 937 3400

Fax

0118 9373481

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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