24 Sep 2019

This month, we’re thrilled to finally show you the newest exhibition in the Sir John Madejski Gallery – ANIMAL: World Art Journeys.

ANIMAL is all about the many brilliant ways that animal life has inspired artists and makers throughout history. This collection includes artefacts from our collection, The Museum of English Rural Life, and the people of the town. The artefacts course across the world and far through history, from the ancient to the contemporary.

ANIMAL contains a stunning variety of forms, sizes, styles, and colours, reflecting the variety that runs across the animal kingdom itself. There’s a gorgeous robe from a nineteenth century Chinese regal court, a stunning bronze lion sculpted by the French master Auguste Rodin, a collection of tiny Japanese netsuke figurines, and so much more for you to find and discover!

When we were creating the exhibition, it was key for us to ensure that every object is easy to view and explore, which can be quite a challenge when some details are so fine and elaborate! To help, we have provided a range of tools for you to use, including torches, magnifying glasses, and even binoculars. It’s about your journey through the collection, as well as the objects’ journey across continents and history.

There’s also a choice of fun activities to entertain and inspire our younger visitors. A lively trail inspired by the adventure of Chicken Licken runs throughout the collection, guiding you on an imaginative adventure through our many artefacts. There are drawing activities and opportunities for kids to be inspired and use their imagination to create animal artistry of their own. And there's an exciting summer holiday programme lined up, too.

ANIMAL is a joint exhibition created in partnership with The Museum of English Rural Life. Reading Museum and the Museum of English Rural Life formed the Museums Partnership Reading funded by Arts Council England. ANIMAL is  our partnership's second exhibition, following our acclaimed 'Ladybird: how it works'.