Reading Museum Receives Award for Quality Services

READING Museum is celebrating after being awarded Full Accreditation status by Arts Council England (ACE).

The Museum Accreditation Scheme is the UK quality standard for museums and galleries and managed by ACE. It serves as an authoritative benchmark for assessing performance, rewarding achievement and driving improvement in museums.

The Museum has been part of the scheme since 1991. ACE launched a revised Accreditation standard in 2011. Reading Museum’s application was approved by the Accreditation panel in September, having last been awarded it back in 2013. As a larger museum it has to meet the full criteria required by the standard. ACE periodically requires evidence that museums continue to maintain the Accreditation standard, which lasts for three years.

Reading Museum is well known for its landmark building in the centre of Reading and is part of Reading Borough Council’s cultural services. The Museum has been offering award-winning opportunities for learning, inspiration and enjoyment since 1883. It provides hands-on learning services with a national reputation for innovation and excellence. The Museum has a vibrant programme of temporary exhibition and family friendly activities during school holidays.

The Museum is also celebrating becoming an ACE National Portfolio Organisation 2018-2022 (NPO) as part of the Reading Town and Country Museums Partnership with the Museum of English Rural Life. Retaining Full Accreditation is a key criteria for all NPOs.

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Lead Councillor for Culture and Sport, said:

“I am delighted to hear Reading Museum’s maintained its Full Accreditation. We should be very proud our town boasts some of the richest cultural and historical heritage in the Thames Valley, with the Museum and Town Hall at its heart. The Accreditation is a real reflection on the continued hard work of staff and, of course, the volunteers who provide one of the best museum services of its kind in the UK.”


Notes for Editors:

Background – Reading Museum

Reading Museum has been providing award-winning opportunities for learning, inspiration and enjoyment since 1883.

The Museum is located inside Reading’s beautiful gothic Town Hall only a few minutes from the train station and The Oracle shopping centre. The galleries are packed with amazing objects both local and global, from red kites to Rodin sculpture. You can spend time learning about Reading’s fascinating 1000 years of history from Saxon beginnings to today’s hi-tech town or enjoy our regular programme of changing art and cultural exhibitions in the magnificent John Madejski Art Gallery.

Other highlights include important archaeological finds from Roman Silchester and medieval Reading Abbey. There is also the unique Victorian copy of the Bayeux Tapestry, contemporary Aldermaston pottery and the famous Huntley & Palmers biscuit tins.

The Museum’s nationally respected loan service lends 1,500 inspirational collections to schools, hospitals and care homes across Berkshire. This innovative work was long listed for the Art Fund Prize 2009 for museums and galleries.

The Museum’s Current Exhibition

The Critic as Artist

Until 27 January 2018

Following on from the success of Inside at Reading Prison, Reading International present a contemporary art exhibition at Reading Museum about and for the Irish writer and dramatist Oscar Wilde, whose ideas and legend remain startlingly contemporary.

The exhibition is curated by leading art critics Michael Bracewell and Andrew Hunt. They have commissioned works from or selected works by significant artists including Miles Aldridge, Stephen Buckley, Donna Huddleston, Malcolm McLaren and Marc Camille Chaimowicz, whose installation for Oscar Wilde occupies the whole of the Museum’s Victorian Art Gallery. Other works are strategically placed throughout the museum galleries.

Combining the historical and the current, notions of the cult of the beautiful with the role of the critic, symbolist fantasy and the many-layered relationships between life, morality and art, The Critic as Artist aims to combine substantial homage with renewed interpretation of Wildean aesthetic theory. During the course of the exhibition there will be daily readings from Oscar Wilde’s writings and related activities around Reading.

The Irish writer is famously linked with the town, having been imprisoned at Reading Gaol between 1895 and 1897 for ‘acts of gross indecency’. Yet Wilde’s previous connections with Reading, predating his imprisonment, tell a more nuanced story. Before his conviction Wilde was a regular and popular visitor in Reading’s cultural circles, at a time when he was at the height of his fame. For details see

David Millward

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