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13 Apr 2018

'Absolute unit' sends rural life museum viral
BY Tom Anstey



The Museum of English Rural Life in Reading has found some unexpected internet fame, with its images of animals described as “absolute units” going viral on social media.

The museum and archive, devoted to the history of farming in the English countryside, has received hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets in just a few days after adopting meme culture and adding it to its social media output.

Tweeting a picture of a rather fluffy ram, along with the caption “look at this absolute unit”, the museum found itself trending worldwide on Twitter, something it has continued to take advantage of, posting more images of ‘absolute units’, along with memes about its other works to the delight of social media.

The original image, a photograph of an Exmoor Horn, taken during the Devon Show in 1962 has become an educational tool for the museum, which has leaned into the social media craze to educate and to entertain.

“When you’ve bred an impressive animal such as our absolute unit, how do you celebrate?,” asked the museum.

“As well as treating yourself to time off and a visit to your friendly local museum, you probably want to show off how good you are. So, you enter the animal in a show and allow it to compete against other animals.

“If you are still intrigued and want to find out more, we’ve got lots of livestock portraits on display in the museum. You are also very welcome to come and browse our amazing library and use our Reading Room to delve into our extensive photographic archives, absolute unit included.”




















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