Reading Museum has provided award-winning opportunities for learning, inspiration and enjoyment since 1883. From our earliest days we collected archaeology, art, natural history, and ethnography, and objects relating to Reading. Today we focus on collecting linked with Reading, its people and environment.

Our school loans service started in 1911 and has offered opportunities for people to handle real artefacts ever since. Innovative engagement with collections through learning, community and volunteering is integral to our DNA.

Reading Museum is recognised as having one of the best loans services in the whole of the UK…nearly eight out of ten Primary Schools in the locality use its services

Museum Related Learning in the South East of England

The Museum is part of Reading Borough Council's cultural services, and has Full Accreditation status from Arts Council England. We have the Investing in Volunteers award and are a founder member of the Happy Museum Affiliate scheme. We have a strategic partnership with the University of Reading’s Museum of English Rural Life.

We are located in Reading’s beautiful Victorian Town Hall, a perfect setting for conferences, exhibitions and weddings. The Concert Hall is an important venue for classical music and comedy events.

Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock tells the history of Reading’s rivers and hosts community art exhibitions in the summer. This branch museum is operated in partnership with the Bel and the Dragon restaurant.

Our Statement of Purpose and Aims

Reading Museum & Town Hall celebrates Reading’s heritage by:

  1. innovatively engaging with our local communities
  2. providing acclaimed opportunities for object-based learning, inspiration and enjoyment
  3. caring for and improving access to our important collections and heritage sites
  4. developing enterprising catering, event and retail income opportunities

(Reading Museum is) streets ahead of any organisation that (we) have dealt with in terms of the roles of volunteers and their personal development

Julia Holberry Associates, Reading Abbey Activity Plan
Volunteers at the Museum