COLLECTED: New stories from the bench

We’re delighted, and very grateful, to announce further support for COLLECTED: 150 Years of Reading FC here at Reading Museum. This sponsorship has come from the Reading FC Vice Presidents Club and will enable us to carry out a gallery display refresh in early May (including some new star exhibits) and to extend the digital reach of the exhibition, again with fresh items to be shown online. Find out more below from Brendan Carr, Community Engagement Curator at Reading Museum.

The history of Reading Football Club is massive. Every season is a new adventure, and there have been 150 of these for Reading FC. And whilst we've touched upon many chapters from the Club's long history in our exhibition, COLLECTED: 150 Years of Reading FC, there is much more that we would like to share with you.

Exploring the Club’s incredible story

As we developed the exhibition and brought the history of the Club into the Sir John Madejski Art Gallery, we uncovered a huge amount of additional information. However, due to space constraints—because like football players on a pitch, there are only so many cases you can have in a gallery—we were unable to include these within the show. We feel we could make three or four exhibitions from these pieces alone, among those shared with us so generously by the Club's community of fans and collectors.

So, over the course of the exhibition, in the months to come, our plan is to share with you more of this remarkable material that we uncovered whilst producing the exhibition.

Making some substitutions

The first way that we will be sharing this extra history with you is by adding some new objects into the exhibition from the week of the 9th May 2022. In true football terms: bringing them off the bench. 

Within this new cohort of objects will be the first-ever public display of a unique Reading FC minute book. Enormously delicate and precious, this is the earliest record of the proceedings of the Club's management board in its history. It gives a fascinating insight into the Club’s origins. To protect it, we're only going to display it for a very short period of time.

Reading FC minute book, 1876.

Another object is this football, signed by the entire first-team squad from the opening season of Reading's arrival in the Premier League. The group of players achieved a magnificent feat, which is still yet to be matched, accruing 106 league points as they secured their first time in the English top division in the Club's history.

Football signed by the first-team players in Reading's inaugural Premier League season, 2006-7.

Alongside these changes in the gallery, we will be producing and releasing more stories through blogs and social media, and hopefully even some recordings of people associated with the Club. We hope that this will be interesting to those people across the globe who we know visit our website and support our town's team, as well as encouraging you to come in and see the objects and image selection of COLLECTED in person.

Plan your visit

We're really pleased with how well our visitors are responding to the exhibition. It's bigger than the story of one club. It's the social history of Reading, its people, and the community and memories they have shared. We want as many people as possible to come along and enjoy it while we have it.

COLLECTED: 150 years of Reading Football Club runs until 13 August 2022 in the Sir John Madejski Art Gallery, Reading Museum.