A key part of the ‘Reading Abbey Revealed’ project is creating new signage and interpretation across the Abbey Quarter including:

  • Temporary interpretation during the conservation and building work, including scaffold banners, leaflets, 'Abbey on Wheels' pop-up displays, audio units and an exhibition at Reading Museum.
  • A new gallery about the Reading Abbey and its effect on the town at Reading Museum opening in early 2018.
  • 27 information panels to explain the history of the Abbey Quarter and interpret the Abbey Ruins, installed by summer 2018.
  • Directional signage linking the Reading Abbey Quarter from the railway station and The Oracle, and the wider town centre, installed by summer 2018.

Temporary interpretation

Our temporary works have included a colourful scaffold banner on exterior of the Abbey Gateway showing a group of historical characters from the Gateway's history, including Queen Elizabeth I who lived here, Jane Austen who went to school here and Sir George Gilbert Scott who restored the Gate.

A key part of this project is putting 27 new interpretation panels across the Abbey Quarter and town centre highlighting the Abbey’s history. A prototype display panel about St. Mary’s Church was displayed in the Reading Abbey Quarter: Then & Now exhibition, in the Sir John Madjeski Gallery at Reading Museum over summer 2017. Museum staff and volunteers asked visitors for their views on the panel’s style, colour and how clearly the historical information was explained.

In September 2017 this panel was redesigned based on our visitor feedback and moved to outside St. Mary’s Church, near the Minster Street entrance of John Lewis, where our volunteers and staff asked passers-by for their views. The results from these surveys have helped us assess the appeal and interest in these boards and then tailor the other panels planned for the Abbey Quarter.

We have already shared some of your feedback on the Reading Museum blog.

prototype design for interpretation panel
Test design for an interpretation panel at St Marys church

New Museum Gallery

We are also working on a new gallery on the ground floor of Reading Museum that will explore the history of Reading Abbey and its links to the town's development. We have already removed many of the Reading Abbey objects to allow work to start on the redevelopment of this gallery. The back section of the current Reading : People and Place Gallery is closed from 17 October 2017 until February 2018 to allow the new displays to be installed.