I asked for it. Quite literally: I’m a writer and when being considered for museum work, I really did say “Hello, can it be the Pen Museum, my name is William Gallagher”.
My original interest, the curiosity that drove me to first visit the museum long ago, was its gorgeous typewriter collection. There are all these fantastic pens and nibs, there is all this history about Birmingham that I didn’t know, but still it was the typewriter collection that hooked me.
It’ll be the same with you. There is always something about this place that grabs you and leads you through into the rest of this huge world. For me it was seeing the same kind of manual typewriter that I learned to write on. To one side of those there are still peculiar business machines for calculating things and then to the other side there’s an iPad.
The Pen Museum is a modern look at an ancient craft and there is always something more to see, something more to use. I’ve typed on a manual typewriter again here and realised just why I prefer computer keyboards.
I’ve made pen nibs, or at least had a very good go while the museum’s volunteer experts tried to guide me. I haven’t even attempted the calligraphy but every day I’ve seen happily ink-stained kids and I’m highly tempted by the classes that run here.
Those will continue long after I’ve finished my residency here and so will the blog. Appropriately, a museum devoted to pens is also full of writers and you’ll be hearing from them all. You’ll also be hearing from me if they let me keep popping up. And you can bet I’m going to be blogging about next year’s World Calligraphy Day.