The Ure Museum, situated in Reading, houses one of the finest but perhaps least widely known collections of Greek Archaeology in the UK. It was established by Professor Percy Ure and his wife Dr Annie Ure. The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, owned by the University of Reading and an integral part of the Department of Classics, is recognised as the fourth largest collection of Greek ceramics in Britain. The collection consists of both extraordinary and every day things such as ceramics, jewellery, grave goods and a mask of the terrifying Gorgon Medusa.
As for the origins of the antiquities, the first collection was gathered by the Ures in 1935, when the Reading Museum agreed on giving them specimens from its Greek Pottery collection. The 300 antiquities, which were given to them by the Reading Museum, are dated from 540 BC to around 300 BC. These objects, which formed the core of the new Reading Museum, had been originally been acquired by the two largest donors of the Museum, Horatio Bland and Conservative MP, Lord Arthur Hill.
These antiquities could be useful material for academic and learning purposes. For instance, pupils participated recently in a project that brought them in touch with ancient Greece and a part of its civilization. The project was called “Stories of the World.” This challenged local school pupils to dream up stories based on still figures appearing on the scenes depicted in the ancient ceramics.
Vases that inspired the students have been back with Reading Museum for the past few months, on display in a community cabinet which celebrates Reading’s ancient Greek heritage, and highlighting its continued use for a wide range of educational outcomes.