The Pen Museum, located in the heart of Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, appointed Leach Studio to create a new exhibition to complement both their authentic ‘Pen Room’ original machinery and manufacturing experience. The exhibition would also contribute to a sustainable future for the museum.
Working alongside the team of volunteers, Leach Studio created the interpretation plan and exhibition design. Installing creativity and innovation to the project, the new exhibition provides a sympathetic, yet contrasting introduction to the museum’s vast collection.
Leach Studio delivered a number of workshops, working closely with the volunteer team to develop the interpretive themes and stories of the various characters, social and industrial history of the building and wider Birmingham. The new gallery provides an introduction to the history of this Grade II* listed building and the rise and fall of Birmingham’s steel pen nibs manufacturing industry.
The exhibition uses a range of interpretive techniques: star artefacts from the museum’s 5,000 piece collection are displayed in bespoke-designed cases. Hands-on interactives encourage visitors to engage with the art form of calligraphy or discover the collection through sound and sight using a kaleidoscope of pen nibs. Personal accounts of those who worked in the factory can also be heard through oral history recordings. This interactivity, introduced by Leach Studio throughout the exhibition ignites visitor engagement, and for the Pen Museum increases customer satisfaction.
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