The MERL – so much more than simply galleries for people to visit….
The MERL prides itself in being part of the local Reading community beyond the walls of the museum. Recently we have had the opportunity to partner with Age UK Berkshire to take our collections to a whole new audience and we jumped at the chance. The project is supported by Reading Borough Council’s Great Places Scheme, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England. Together we are working to deliver a storytelling project focused on celebrating the life histories of Reading’s older population.
Age UK research suggests 16% of the over 65s often feel invisible or ignored. Loneliness can happen at all stages of life and often begins when people lose significant relationships or the opportunities to engage in the community. The recent pandemic has shown us just how easily anyone can become isolated. Covid- 19 put pay to many of the activities we had planned but that didn’t stop us; we were determined to keep going inspired by the incredible spirit of the generation whose stories we wanted to capture. Using MERL’s extensive collection of wonderful old photographs, we are putting together a life stories box for Age UK Berkshire clients.
We still have some way to go to collect more stories but it’s hoped in the spring we will be able to share these stories. If you know of anyone who would like to take part, please get in touch, we would love to hear from you. Help us capture Reading’s hidden stories.