Latest update: 9th December 2021

At Reading Museum, we have taken many steps throughout the pandemic to ensure that you can visit with peace of mind, feeling safe and being looked after throughout the museum galleries, gift shop, and spaces.

As the UK Government brings in its Plan B policies we are keen to reassure you that we are maintaining all our safety measures throughout the museum. This includes the requirement that you must wear a face covering at all times (unless you have a medical exemption).

To learn about the steps we are taking to take care of all our visitors, staff and volunteers, and plan your free museum visit, please head to our Welcome Back page or read our reopening FAQs.

Art Gallery visitor

Historic updates

Update: 19th July 2021

From the 20th July 2021, you will no longer need to book in advance to visit Reading Museum, so you can just pop in during our regular opening hours. Admission, as always, is free!

We will still have a range of measures in place to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all our visitors, staff and volunteers. Find out more about these in our COVID-safe FAQs.

Update: 18th May 2021

After several months of closure, we are delighted to announce that Reading Museum has now reopened, and we are thrilled to be welcoming you back!

This follows the successful reopening of the museum gift shop on the 12th of April, and forms part of the combined reopening of Museums Partnership Reading (consisting of Reading Museum and The Museum of English Rural Life)

Like with our previous reopenings, we have introduced a range of measures throughout the building to ensure that the museum is a safe and comfortable environment for all our visitors, volunteers, and staff. This includes the requirement for all visitors to the galleries to book in advance.

Find out more about our reopening, and book your free visit today!

Update: 10th May 2021

In line with the Government's COVID-19 roadmap, we are delighted to announce that visitors will be able to return to Reading Museum from Tuesday 18th May.

This follows the successful reopening of the museum gift shop on the 12th of April, and forms part of the combined reopening of Museums Partnership Reading (consisting of Reading Museum and The Museum of English Rural Life)

Like our previous reopenings, a range of steps are being taken throughout the building to ensure that the museum will be a safe, comfortable, and welcoming environment for all.

This includes the requirement for you to book ahead of visiting us, and we are very pleased to share that bookings can now be made for visits from the 18th of May onwards.

Whilst we have been closed, it has been a joy to use social media and our digital platforms to bring museum experiences to you at home. Nevertheless, we have missed our visitors hugely, and look forward very much to welcoming you back in person.

Find out more about visiting Reading Museum, or book your visit today!

Update: 9th April 2021

In line with the next step of the Government's COVID-19 roadmap, we are delighted to announce that the Reading Museum shop will reopen from the 12th April 2021, as the first phase of the museum's reopening.

We have also introduced a new click-and-collect service for the shop, enabling you to browse and buy online and then pick up your order in person from the Town Hall.

Subject to further Government guidelines, we hope to reopen the Museum galleries from Tuesday 18th May, and we are looking forward very much to welcome back our visitors. We will share further news about this as soon as we can but book is open now.

Until then, there are many ways online for people and groups of all ages to engage with our collections and the history of the local area: from blog posts and online resources, to family fun and arts and crafts! For online school visits, take a look at our range of popular Virtual Sessions.

For more information about our COVID-19 response, explore our historic updates below.

Update: 17th December 2020

In line with the latest Government announcement, Reading Museum will close until further notice from 4pm on Friday 18th December 2020.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Museum as soon as it is safe to do so.

Update: 30th November 2020

We are delighted to announce that Reading Museum will reopen on Wednesday 2nd December 2020. You can find out more and pre-book your free ticket on our welcome back pages.

In the meantime we are busy working hard behind the scenes to get the Museum ready for our lovely visitors. We look forward to seeing you all very soon!

Don't forget our online Museum shop is always open for unique Christmas gifts and stocking-fillers.

Update: 26th November 2020

In light of the latest Government announcement, the Reading Museum team is currently working hard behind-the-scenes to undertake all the necessary health and safety checks and risk assessments, to ensure that we are able to safely reopen and welcome you back to the Museum as soon as possible.

We hope to update you again soon very shortly.

Update: 5th November 2020

Reading Museum is currently closed to visitors for the duration of the national lockdown, in line with the latest UK Government guidelines.

After our update earlier this week, we are delighted to announce that two further parts of the Museum's service will continue over the weeks to come.

The Museum’s popular online school sessions, delivered live by our learning team, will still be available for our virtually visiting schools to enjoy.

Meanwhile, the Museum gift shop will stay open online, and you will be able to browse our range of charming gifts from home, and order via postal delivery .

Keep an eye on our social media feeds and blog, where we will continue sharing news from the Museum and the stories of our collections.

Update: 3rd November 2020

Following the latest Government guidance, Reading Museum will close to visitors from 4pm on the 4th November for the duration of the national lockdown.

It has been wonderful seeing so many people at the Museum since we reopened in early August, enjoying our collections and galleries as much as ever, and we look forward to safely welcoming you back when we next can.

Much like throughout the year, our team will continue working behind the scenes to bring the Museum to you via our website and social media. We will also be sharing another update later in the week about how our popular online schools sessions and online shop will continue during this new period of closure.

Update: 8th September 2020

Reading Museum reopened on 8 September. We have made many changes to ensure that the Museum is safe and welcoming for all. Importantly, you are now required to make a free timed booking in advance of your visit, you can find out more on our Welcome Back pages.

We continue using our website and social media to share brand new exhibitions, our collections, blogposts, and arts and crafts to do at home. You can discover all these fantastic resources across our website and in the list below. You can also browse our online shop for unique gifts either reflecting Reading and the local area or inspired by the Museum's collection.

Explore our collections and local history online

Here’s how you can explore our collections and engage with us online:

  • For a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane, our collections website contains thousands of photographs and objects from the Museum’s collection that are available to view for free! This includes almost two thousand photos from the Reading Chronicle Collection taken between 1938 and 1962. 
  • Browse our ANIMAL: World Art Journeys online tour, blogs and activities.
  • Explore our VE 75 pages including images of Reading's victory street parties in 1945.
  • Learn about the history of the Windrush with our Windrush Day 2020 resources, co-created with Reading's Caribbean community, including an online exhibition produced by Barbados Museum & Historical Society.
  • Discover Reading's famous full-size Victorian version of the Bayeux Tapestry in its entirety on it own dedicated Britain's Bayeux Tapestry website.
  • Enjoy over one hundred articles on the Reading Museum blog written by museum staff and guest experts exploring local history and our collections, with subjects ranging from Bagpuss and Reading-at-war, to tales of the ghosts of Reading Abbey.
  • We keep a collection of over one thousand loan boxes that we usually lend to local schools, covering a wide range of national curriculum topics and subjects, which can all be viewed online on our museum loan boxes page! For children currently studying at home, there's so much to be discovered here!
  • We hold the collections of iconic biscuit manufacturers Huntley and Palmers. Browse all of their remarkable tins and learn about an important part of local history over at the Huntley & Palmers website.
  • Explore our interactive online map of Reading's historic Abbey Quarter and journey into a thousand years of history from your own home. We have also created a 3D virtual model of Reading Abbey as it was in 1539, just before it was dissolved by King Henry VIII. Download and explore via Sketchfab.
  • Visit the Reading Museum YouTube channel, where you can find two interviews with Paddington Bear author Michael Bond talking about his narrow escape from the 1943 air raid on Reading.
  • You can explore the museum's oil paintings on the Art UK website.
  • Go to Historypin to see hundreds of old photos from our collection pinned onto a map so you can see then and now.
  • The Reading Foundation for Art’s collection is cared for by the Museum and includes works by important modern British artists such as Paul Nash, Mary Fedden and Terry Frost.
  • And don't forget to explore the online resources of Reading's other major museum The Museum of English Rural Life!

Learning Resources

We are sharing resources to help you with fun learning and enjoyment at home. Discover downloadable resources, ideas and inspiration for all ages over at our resources page.
Pop back soon as we will keep adding new content!

Schools can now book our new Virtual Sessions that bring the museum learning experience into your classroom, find out more on our Schools pages.

Social media

We are continuing to keep in touch on social media! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Online shop

Our online shop showcases a range of unique gifts either reflecting Reading and the local area or inspired by the Museum's collection. Every purchase made in our Shop goes towards supporting the Museum. You can purchase our best-selling products online now.