TWO new tours at Reading Museum will give residents the opportunity to learn more about their town’s heritage.
Alongside the launch of the new insightful Reading Abbey: Then and Now Exhibition, residents can now enjoy a 20 minute tour of the exhibition led by a trained volunteer or gallery staff. The tour, which will be running on a daily basis from 11.15am for the next two weeks, will also include an opportunity to feedback on the new display panels that will be installed across the Abbey Quarter next year.
In addition, the gallery tours have been given a fresh new Abbey focus, and a new start time of 12noon. These unique tours, held every Saturday, will vary each time depending on the interests of the tour guides, and the objects on offer and will last around 45 minutes.
Councillor Sarah Hacker, Lead Councillor for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services said:
“The new tours are a brilliant opportunity to pay a visit to Reading Museum and gain insight into Reading’s rich heritage. I am pleased to hear that there has already been a great response to the tours. With the new gallery tours every Saturday and the Bayeux Tapestry tours later at 2.15pm, why not combine the tour for a perfect Saturday afternoon at the Museum.”
The daily short tours will finish on 3 June, with the exhibition finishing on 23 September. Those that are unable to make the tours will be able to make use of pop-up talks from 17 June. There will be more information on these at www.readingmuseum.org.uk.
All of the tours are free of charge, but donations are welcome.
Notes to editors
Reading’s Abbey Quarter has been the traditional civic and ceremonial heart of the county town of Royal Berkshire since the 12th century. The Quarter is defined by the medieval streets and rivers that outline the precinct of Reading Abbey. This area contains the substantial standing remains and buried archaeology of Reading Abbey, telling its story from the foundation by Henry I in 1121 to its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1539.
The Quarter shows evidence of all periods since the Abbey’s dissolution: a royal residence, civil war defences, Jane Austen’s school, the impressive municipal buildings, Victorian public gardens and Oscar Wilde’s infamous Reading Gaol. There are buildings by famous architects including Sir John Soane, A.W.N. Pugin, Alfred Waterhouse and Sir George Gilbert Scott. Significant public sculpture within the Quarter includes Simond’s Maiwand Lion and statue of Queen Victoria, and contemporary artworks such as the Oscar Wilde Memorial Walk.
Reading Museum is also located within the Quarter and has important collections relating to the heritage of Reading and the Quarter, particularly Reading Abbey and later Victorian industrial heritage.
The exhibition, which is now open until 23 September, is an exciting opportunity for residents to truly realise the immense history of the expansive Abbey Quarter, and discover plans for the future. It is a chance to take a journey through time to see how the site has changed through the centuries and the impact it has had on Reading – from prehistory to the present day – through an expansive collection of artwork and artefacts.
Reading Abbey: Then and Now is part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
As part of the long term plans to re-open the Abbey Ruins, Reading Borough Council was awarded £1.77million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in support of the Abbey Revealed project to match the Council’s contribution of £1.38million to breathe life into the site.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.
For up to date information about the exciting work being done on Reading Abbey you can follow the project on Twitter @RdgAbbey or Facebook @ReadingAbbeyQuarter.
People can keep up to date with the project by visiting the Abbey Quarter’s Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ReadingAbbeyQuarter ), or by following them on twitter (@RdgAbbey). More information about the project can be found at www.readingabbeyquarter.org.uk.