The Museum of Writing Instruments (MOWI) in Winneconne will begin work on their latest display, a designer pencil floor, on March 3, with plans to open by the end of the month.
And by “designer pencil floor,” museum owners Karyn and Tom Schmitz mean the actual floor will be made out of writing instruments.
“We accumulated thousands of extra pencils and pens,” Tom says about the Museum’s collection of 80,000 writing instruments. “And then Karyn got an idea one day that maybe we ought to try putting those in the floor like they did with the pennies.”
The penny floor is a cult interior design concept that lines a floor surface with pennies to create a coppered regal look one might find in a courthouse or government building. The pencil floor uses the same methods, say Tom and Karyn, who plan to line pencils and pens atop a plywood foundation, then cover it in epoxy resin, which seals the writing instruments in place, creating a walkable floor.
The floor will be made up of a variety of writing instrument types, including advertising pencils from a number of companies as well as assortments of novelty pens.
“It’s been a fun collection. Some of the pencils, they’ve got moondust in the end, they have seeds for growing, headache pencils, novelties of all sorts,” Karyn says. “We have a whole section of advertising pens that [will be] quite elaborate under the floor,” Tom adds.
MOWI will work with the Winneconne High School Woodworking department to design the pencil floor, which Tom says will provide outside-the-book professional development experience for students. Since construction will happen outside the building, the museum will stay open as work commences on the floor.
Karyn thinks the designer pencil floor will be exciting for pencil and pen enthusiasts and general audiences alike. Since Winneconne is one of two museums of writing instruments in the world (the other one is the Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick, Cumbria, England), Karen says no one’s ever tried this before.
“We’re the only museum of writing instruments in the U.S., and then to have a floor of pencils and pens, I think that will be a nice attraction,” Karyn says. “Pretty cool, I think.”