Pen Museum – Jewellery Quarter

Immerse yourself in the history of the 19th Century Pen Trade. Discover the tough working conditions of women working in the pen factories. Experience writing with feather quills, reeds and steel pen nibs.

The Pen Museum focuses on the important legacy of Birmingham’s 19th Century pen trade and its significant contribution to improving literacy throughout the world. It’s located in a former pen factory, built in 1863, where visitors experience writing with feather quills, reeds and steel nibs and can also make their own nib using traditional methods. Birmingham dominated the world’s production of steel pens in the mid to late 19th century, which, had a significant impact on improving literacy on a global basis. It has been estimated that the City produced approximately three quarters of the world’s pens in the mid to late 19th century.  Explore the collection of over 5,000 objects related to the Birmingham Pen Trade. Our team is also happy to answer (where possible) general questions about pens.

“A fascinating museum greatly enhanced by the enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers”

7th December 2020 Pen Museum Update

As guardians of the Pen Museum we face our toughest challenge yet and greatly appreciate the kind and invaluable generosity of more than 400 supporters who have already helped raise nearly £7,000 to help support our Museum.

We still need support.

As a charity, we totally depend on our dedicated, experienced and loyal team of volunteers along with the generosity of donors and supporters.  Our wonderful visitors also provide regular income to help keep this part of Birmingham’s important heritage alive.

Being the world’s only museum dedicated to the history of Birmingham’s steel pen trade and its global impact, we narrate an important part of Birmingham’s industrial development.

Birmingham dominated the world’s production of steel pens in the mid to late 19th century, which, had a significant impact on improving literacy on a global basis. It has been estimated that the City produced approximately three quarters of the world’s pens in the mid to late 19th century.

But it is more than a museum, it’s also a place of discovery and inspiration through our displays, activities and events.

Our aim is to engage and inspire visitors, provide Outreach in terms of history, deliver writing skills workshops with a new focus on digitising part of our collection and archive to increase public engagement and accessibility to as wide an audience as possible.

Our doors may be temporarily closed, yet, our important work continues with a view to re-opening as soon as feasible with your support.

We appreciate every donation

Thank you

Andy Munro

Chair and on behalf of the Trustees of the Pen Museum

13th October 2020 Pen Museum Update Absolutely thrilled to have been awarded funding as part of the Culture Recovery Fund. This vital support will help improve access to our unique and wonderful steel pen collection and enable us to recount the important social history of Birmingham’s 19th Century pen workers whose skill and craftsmanship helped to improve literacy across the world.

Andy Munro, Chair of the Trustees of the Pen Museum said;  “We are delighted for this vital lifeline from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.  The Pen Museum is a charity and is almost exclusively run by a loyal band of knowledgeable volunteers to keep this important part of Birmingham’s and the UK’s Heritage alive.  Birmingham dominated the world’s production of steel pens in the mid to late 19th century, which, had a significant impact on improving literacy on a global basis. It has been estimated that the City produced approximately three quarters of the world’s pens in the mid to late 19th century. The Museum’s planned re-opening will go ahead with a renewed vigour and optimism and our work to improve the accessibility and appreciation of the collections will be greatly enhanced by this support.”

Full Press Release

And we are #HereForCulture too.  #HereForCulture is a movement that unites the public, government and cultural organisations in support of our fantastic cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums, galleries and heritage. We want people to make sure that where they are able to visit local culture venues in their communities, they do so in a covid secure way. Plus, with more and more culture being curated online, there is no better time to support and enjoy all the new and exciting ways culture is available to us. By being #HereForCulture, we aren’t just supporting the people in the industry, we’re also supporting communities across the country.

We are Here For Culture

26th June 2020   Pen Museum Update As the Government starts to ease the lockdown, and in view of the invaluable financial support we’ve received from both our Crowdfunding Campaign and Arts Council England, our Trustees are proposing to reopen open the Pen Museum with new Covid safety procedures in place to ensure the safety of our visitors and volunteers. This will include a requirement to pre-book tickets. Our proposed reopening will be kept under review by the Museum’s Trustees and any updates posted via our website and social media channels. We all look forward to welcoming visitors again later this year and once again thank you to everyone for your brilliant support in helping our small independent Museum to survive. Andy Munro Chairman

2020 Fundraising Appeal Our heartfelt thanks go out to every one of our generous Crowdfunding supporters who helped us raise an amazing £6,163 in just 41 days. We will be in touch in due course as well with all those generous supporters who also selected a reward with their donation. Whilst we have been fortunate to receive a short term revenue grant from the Arts Council England plus the continued generous responses to our Crowdfunding appeal, we are unfortunately far from out of the woods. We are awaiting government guidance on the opening of Museums but either way, even when we do reopen (with the necessary safety measures in place) we realise it will be a considerable time before visitor numbers reach pre crisis levels. However, we are now confident, that given the fantastic response to our appeal, that we will ride the crisis and keep the history of the Steel Pen Trade and its importance to Birmingham alive for future generations to enjoy. Thank you, once again from everybody at the Pen Museum. Crowdfunder project page is still available for donations to be made to support our work.