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Top travel destinations for stationery addicts
Who says you can’t combine your love of stationery with your holiday?
Whether exploring the history of paper or discovering the origins of contemporary calligraphy, you’ll be spoilt for choice as you pencil these destinations into your travel bucket list.
The Pen Museum
Located in the heart of the city’s Jewellery Quarter, the Pen Museum in Birmingham is a must-visit for every stationery addict.
The manufacturing of steel pen nibs was a significant business throughout Birmingham during the Victorian era, with 129 local companies employing around 8,000 workers to keep the city’s pen trade moving.
The Pen Museum allows visitors to learn more about Birmingham’s role in the pen industry. Learn how prominent pen manufacturers were established and the industry’s part in setting up the University of Birmingham.
Visitors can try their hand at writing with a quill and ink, learn the basics of calligraphy, use graphology to analyse their handwriting, hear first-hand experiences of pen workers, and much more.
The Japan Stationery Museum
If you ever find yourself in Tokyo, head down to the Asakusabashi district and visit the Japan Stationery Museum.
Japanese stationery has recently enjoyed tremendous popularity in Western countries, and this museum highlights the best Japanese stationery and the history of Japan’s writing industry.
Visitors will find traditional writing materials, calculators, and unique antique stationery from Japan and worldwide and see replicas of famous pencils used by prominent Japanese Shoguns, ancient Chinese ink stones, and Edo-era ink cases. One popular exhibit is a 14kg (31lb) brush made from the hair of over 50 horses.
Many cities once made their riches through paper manufacturing, meaning you’ll find several paper museums dotted around the globe.
Some of the most prominent institutions include the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking in Atlanta, USA, which is dedicated to the history of papermaking and paper technology.
Over in Switzerland, the Basel Paper Mill is housed in the walls of a medieval paper mill, where visitors can learn everything about the art of book printing.
The Paper Museum in Tokyo focuses on the history of producing Western-style paper in Japan, featuring various exhibits and educational activities where visitors can learn first-hand about the industry.
You’ll also find paper museums, historical centres, and working paper mills worldwide. Most are concentrated in Europe, specifically in France, Germany and the Netherlands. However, if you ever find yourself in Japan, Korea, or Tawain, you’ll also be treated to a nation rich in papermaking history.
The World Calligraphy Museum
Speak to any stationery addict, and they’ve likely tried their hand at calligraphy, meaning they’ll most probably want to visit the world’s only actual calligraphy museum.
The World Calligraphy Museum in Moscow is dedicated to the art of fine writing, with exhibitions of beautiful symbols and harmonious lines. Visitors will see examples of ornamental Arabic script, European calligraphy, the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy, laconic Japanese calligraphy, and even Slavic writing, traditional to this area of Russia.
Join the museum’s expert-guided tours or participate in one of the detailed workshops where visitors can learn to recreate this revered art form. Return home having (slightly) mastered the art of calligraphy, ready to show all your family and friends.
Derwent Pencil Museum
Did you know that the northwest of England is home to the world’s first pencil?
The Derwent Pencil Museum in the Lake District is a must-visit to set your eyes on some famous stationery and pencils that helped shape history.
The Cumberland Pencil Company has been manufacturing Derwent pencils since 1832, although graphite was first discovered in mines in this area back in the 1550s. Visitors to the museum enter through a replica of said mines to begin their graphite and pencil education journey. You’ll also learn how pencils are made today before purchasing a pencil to take home.
The Faber-Castell Museum
Faber-Castell is one of the biggest names in stationery history, so it’s no surprise they have an entire museum dedicated to its legacy.
Historic premises near Nuremberg have been converted into a showcase of the company’s industrial heritage.
At the Faber-Castell Museum, stationery addicts will discover how pencil leads were manufactured in the 19th and 20th centuries, taking them through the detailed process of grinding the graphite to operating filter presses.
Visitors may be shocked to learn that pencil making was often gruelling and labour-intensive, giving newfound respect for the humble tool.