MERL Farmers Weekly Project

A project by: Caroline Gould


WE RAISED £1,943

from 53 donors

This project received donations on Fri 30 Nov 2018
Preserving the Farmers Weekly Photographic Archive Collection held At MERL

our project

The Farmers Weekly Photographic Archive is held at the Museum of English Rural Life.

The photographs in the collection, dating from the 1930s to the 1990s, are historically, socially and agriculturally significant. They document arable and livestock farming, especially prevailing husbandry practices, the introduction of new technologies and the application of science to agriculture.

Depicting subjects such as farm labour, farm visits, wartime farming, agricultural shows, events and personalities, the images are part of our local and national heritage. Not only accessible to all museum visitors, they are also used in academic research at the University and beyond. 

We would like to conserve the 35mm photographic negatives in the Farmers Weekly collection, which date from 1970-1990. They are in poor packaging that is degrading and are at risk of being destroyed. They need to be rehoused into appropriate archival packaging to ensure their permanent preservation for future generations. And this is where we need your support.

Who are we?

The Museum of English Rural Life is owned and managed by the University of Reading. We were established by academics in the Department of Agriculture in 1951 to capture and record the rapidly changing countryside following the Second World War. We are based on Redlands Road and our galleries, archive and library are open to all and free to visit.

We use our diverse and surprising collection to explore how the skills and experiences of farmers and craftspeople, past and present, can help shape our lives now and into the future. We work alongside rural people, local communities and specialist researchers to create displays and activities that engage with important debates about the future of food and the ongoing relevance of the countryside to all our lives.

our story

The Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum are working together as Museums Partnership Reading until 2022.

The partnership is funded by Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation scheme, and will see the two museums working together to improve educational opportunities for young people, host joint exhibitions, provide new online experiences and invest more in volunteering.

The core of every museum is its collection, and it is our duty and responsibility to care for our archives, objects and photographs so they can inform and inspire present and future visitors. And this is why we need you.

how you can help

Part of our funding this year is supporting the conservation of the Farmers Weekly collections. Unfortunately, the funding will not complete the project. 

Our aim is to raise £1,000 towards the cost of the archival packaging materials we need. This will allow us to preserve many damaged negatives and start preventative work so many more future generations can be inspired by and benefit from these archives.

where will the money go?

An archival quality boxboard binder can cost up to £18. We need at least 20: in total £360

A pack of 50 negative sleeves costs £31. We need at least 20 packs: in total £620

Our aim is to rehouse only the items that have degraded to the point where their existing packaging is starting to affect the negatives. If we raise more than the target we can then start preventive preservation, replacing the items before the packaging starts to affect the negatives. 


We have some fab rewards to thank you for your support. Check them out!

Find us here

Follow us on social media to see regular updates on the progress of the project!

Twitter: @TheMERL

Facebook: @MuseumofEnglishRuralLife

Instagram: @the.merl

Help us succeed!

Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog.