Favourite exhibit: Steel Nib Making

Visitor Engagement Pen Museum
Most museums ask that you don’t touch things. A few have items that it’s okay to examine. The Pen Museum has one that you actually use. You’ll need to be shown how but then you can use the same tools that pen manufacturing staff did. They had to make hundreds and you’ll only need to [...]

History of the Pen Licence

If you thought pens and paper had long been replaced by smart phones and emoji, well, we can’t say we’d blame you. Yet in this modern world where everything is so fast and everything is online, the humble pen has again become key. It has again become something you aspire to owning, because of what [...]

Pens, People and Power: The 1918 Representation of the People Act

As thousands of us turn out to vote in local elections today, let’s briefly step back 100 years to when the UK’s Representation of the People Act was passed at a time when female workers made up around 75% of the Birmingham pen trade’s workforce. 2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People […]

International Women’s Day

When the history of Birmingham is told, pen making is right up there with every fine trade the city was founded on. The names of brothers John and William Mitchell will rightly also always be mentioned as the first manufacturers to use machines for cutting pen nibs. Wrongly, though, there are people who don’t get […]

It’s World Book Day

Today the whole world honours books – and what are books written with? Okay, thee days it’s mostly computer keyboards. Yet the greatest works of literature ever written were first done by hand using exactly the kinds of pens we have here in the museum. We don’t use the word ‘exactly’ lightly, either. During the [...]

What it’s Like to Volunteer at the Pen Museum

I first came to the Pen Museum as a young child; I am now 21 years old and so much has changed here since then. As a volunteer, I have seen the stages of transformation that have been undertaken here, and I’ve been able to be a part of it. Being a small museum volunteers [...]