The Pen Museum
The Pen Museum is a unique U.K.Museum and learning centre in Birmingham, England dedicated to educating visitors on the history of Birmingham’s pen trade.The only museum in the United Kingdom devoted to the history of the pen making industry - find out why Birmingham became the centre of the world pen trade.
The museum is run by the Birmingham Pen Trade Heritage Association and is a registered charity located in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, at the Argent Centre. The Argent Centre itself used to house a pen factory and is a Grade II* listed building. The museum was opened in April 2001, and in June 2002 the adjoining Learning Centre part of the museum was opened.
In the 19th century, around 100 companies distributed steel pens in Birmingham. The pen nibs produced were distributed worldwide, until the trade was overtaken by fountain pens and the ballpoint pen. The museum looks into the lives of the employers and workers involved in the business, as well as providing information on the pen companies. It also has information on how steel pen nibs were made and has pen nibs on display. Beyond the steel pen, the museum also aims to educate on other forms of writing equipment and on writing in general.
Information at the museum is given through displays and tours by volunteer guides, as well as through demonstrations and ‘hands on’ activities, such as writing with different kinds of pen, early typewriters and Braille machines, and making a pen nib using original factory presses. Entry to the museum is free, but donations are welcome.
The Learning Centre of the museum exists to further display pen history, but also exists to encourage writing in various forms. There are calligraphy lessons, run weekly every Saturday. The museum also hosts Braille lessons, workshops for family and community groups on various themes, talks on pen trade history and provide for research into genealogy. The Carl Chinn Library and Community Room is available for hire to host meetings and workshops.
The museum has a shop which sells books, pen and writing-related memorabilia and gifts.
- The Pen Museum - Official Site
- The Pen Museum News - Official News
- Midlands Industrial Association - Museum Sponsor