The Pen Museum is a museum in Birmingham dedicated to educating visitors about the history of Birmingham's steel pen trade. The only museum in the United Kingdom devoted to the history of the pen making industry, the Pen Museum explains how Birmingham became the center of the world pen trade. 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. As it seems likely that hand writing will disappear this museum is a great place to explore what is a foundation stone of civilization.
Start your visit in the ‘Pen Room’, which aims to recreate a traditional pen factory. Have a go at some of the manufacturing processes involved in producing steel pen nibs and learn about the tough lives of the female pen workers as they churned out thousands of pieces per day. Dress up in the Victorian school room and practice writing your lines with a traditional dip pen or quill. Then make you way to the ‘Philip Poole Room’ which features many fantastic objects, including pyramids and stars made entirely from nibs. Amongst our collections we have examples of nibs from all of the local pen manufacturers, as well as speciality items such as musical stave nibs. The museum also houses a range of objects associated with the pen trade and the history of writing, including inkwells, escritoires and period retail packaging from all over the world. 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.
Calligraphy lessons, run weekly every Saturday in the community room. As the Pen Museum is located in a listed historic building, wheelchair access to some areas is limited. A toilet with disabled access and a baby changing facility is available to all visitors. Assistance dogs are welcome. There are a lot of objects to handle.
Location : Unit 3, The Argent Centre, 60 Frederick Street, Birmingham, B1 3HS
Transport: Jewellery Quarter (National Rail, Midland Metro) 10 minutes. Bus Routes : 101 stops outside; 82, 83, 87 and 89 stop nearby.
Opening Times : Tuesday to Saturday: 11:00 to 16:00;  Sunday: 13:00 – 16:00.
Tickets : Adults £2.00; Children (under 16) Free
Tel: 0121 236 9834