New portal and collections websites have been launched that aim to transform research and teaching access to the University’s museums and collections. Developed out of recent University investment in supporting collections research, the new platforms highlight how these resources play an increasingly important part in many areas of research and in enriching teaching and learning for our students.
The new portal and new websites for the Special Collecions and Art, Cole Museum and Ure Museum, bring to life and together for the first time the extraordinary diversity and scope of these unique collections. From ancient pottery and medieval literature, outstanding book, ephemera and publishing collections, to the archives of Samuel Beckett and the history of rural England, the University of Reading’s museums and collections reflect some of its most important and distinctive research strengths.
The new resources also highlight how the University’s collections support an extraordinary range of interdisciplinary and ground-breaking research, teaching and public engagement through case studies and guidance on how to find out more, access collections and specialist expertise.
New online exhibitions will showcase the collections, alongside blogs and award-winning social media channels. Features such as the A-Z list of collections and themes and strengths reveal both the richness and range of these resources and how they have been inspired new scholarship and creativity: How Professor Jacqui Turner discovered stories of ordinary men and women in Nancy Astor’s letters; how the archive of Samuel Beckett inspired writers, Robert McCrum and Eimear McBride to create new work; and how Professor Sue Walker applied design expertise to helping promote the dangers of drug-resistant bugs in the context of a community pharmacy in Rwanda.
As Head of Archive Services, Guy Baxter observes: “Recent events have highlighted how important it is for researchers, students and the wider public to engage with museums and collections online. Our new portal will do that, enabling us to uncover links between the millions of documents, books, objects and artworks that we care for, and telling the stories behind the collections. We hope that these new resources will also inspire people to get involved in our museums and collections, by visiting, studying, attending events or volunteering.”