First Class

Pen Museum

Making steel pen nibs in Birmingham during the Victorian era was a major industry with 129 companies employing circa 8,000 workers (mostly women). When visiting the Pen Museum, you will discover a wide range of fascinating objects and details that help tell the story of Birmingham’s pen trade and its important legacy including the link between a prominent pen manufacturer (Josiah Mason) and the establishment of the University of Birmingham.

Throughout the Museum there are a range of interactive activities for people of all ages to enjoy including:

Writing with a quill and ink.

Using typewriters.

Try your hand at calligraphy.

Use graphology to analyse your handwriting.

Follow the pen nib trail.

Hear first-hand experiences of pen workers.

Interactive Kiosk featuring 3D images from our collections.

Plus, an exciting opportunity to make your own nib using the same machinery once operated by women workers in the 19th century. *

Gifts galore for everyone in our Gift Shop – Treat Yourself we have something for all.

*Please note that while we will always endeavour to offer activities as advertised on our website and leaflet, this is subject to change at short notice due to volunteer availability. On the day of visiting, this may mean that we offer you an amended visit. We appreciate your understanding and our commitment to delivering excellent customer service means that you will always receive the best visitor experience possible.

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3D Images from our collection

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Small Museum with a Big History

As a charity, we almost 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 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 displays, activities, and events.

We really do appreciate every, visitor, donor and stakeholder we look forward to welcoming everyone to our Museum. The Pen Museum Team. 

“Wonderful; very interesting;  fascinating and impressive and knowledgable staff; had a lovely time;”

“Super place, well worth making a detour to visit.”