About Us

Based in a former pen factory in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, the Pen Museum tells the story of how modern pens evolved. The museum celebrates the Birmingham pen trade during the 19th Century and the lives of the manufacturers and workers whose expertise placed the city at the centre of this worldwide trade.

  • Learn about the many pen companies of Birmingham and the history of the trade from a quill to steel nib, to fountain pen.
  • Make your own nib using traditional machinery, and experience the tough working conditions of the steel pen workers.
  • Try your handwriting with feather quills, reed pens, and steel pens.

The Museum is dedicated to keeping Birmingham’s industrial legacy alive through displays, activities, classes, and talks.

The museum

Start your visit in the main exhibition and gift shop areas, before visiting 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. The Museum continues with the Philip Poole Room which includes further displays including the temporary exhibition area.

Children (and adults) can immerse themselves in the museum’s ‘clocking-in’ trail, a Victorian schoolroom, and more.

Gift Shop

Our shop offers an extensive range of specialist calligraphy equipment suitable for beginners and experts. We have something for everyone with a wide selection of books, gift sets and souvenirs

Our collection

Amongst our collections, we have examples of nibs from all of the local pen manufacturers, as well as specialty 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.

It is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the country.

Our history

Opened in 2001 by the Birmingham Pen Trade Heritage Association, the Pen Museum is a volunteer-led Museum an Arts Council accredited Museum and recipients of the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

The Birmingham Pen Trade Heritage Association was established in 1996 and registered as a charity (No. 1064945) in 1997. The Association works to ensure that Birmingham’s role in the importance of the pen trade is explored, appreciated and celebrated worldwide.