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. Currently a prototype display panel about St. Mary’s Church can be seen in the Reading Abbey Quarter: Then & Now exhibition, in the Sir John Madjeski Gallery, at Reading Museum. Since May, museum staff and volunteers have been regularly asking visitors for their views on the panel’s style, colour and how clearly the historical information is explained.

During early September, this panel will redesigned based on our visitor feedback and will then moved to outside St. Mary’s Church, where volunteers and museum staff will be out in the town asking passers-by for their views. The results from these surveys will help us assess the appeal and interest in these boards and then tailor the other panels planned for the Abbey Quarter.

We’d love to hear your views on this prototype interpretation panel during this period, so either drop by and visit the exhibition at Reading Museum or catch us by St. Mary’s Church, near the Minster Street entrance to John Lewis, in mid September 2017.

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. Some areas of the ground floor may not be open as we work to improve the displays during 2017 and early 2018.

We have already removed many of the Reading Abbey objects to allow work to start on the redevelopment of this gallery. However key  artefacts and artworks can still be seen in the Reading Abbey Quarter: Then and Now temporary exhibition in the Art Gallery until 23 September 2017. The back section of the current Reading : People and Place Gallery will be closed from 17 October 2017 until February 2018 to allow the new displays to be installed.