A Papermaking Museum

A Papermaking Museum

25 Days of Paper 2016, Day 22

There’s a very cool paper museum in Atlanta which is dedicated to papermaking!

The Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking is located in Atlanta, Georgia and is the home of the collection of Dard Hunter.


Born in 1883 in Steubenville, Ohio, Hunter developed a life-long passion for the craft of papermaking. He travelled around the world, collecting objects and learning from papermakers. These trips provided the foundation of the books he wrote about different papermaking traditions. By 1934, Hunter had collected over 10,000 artifacts and 2,000 books on paper and papermaking. The museum opened in 1936 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Hunter is considered by many to be the father of hand papermaking in North America, and is the author of Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft, first published in 1943. This book continues to be an important reference for paper historians.


Artifacts in the museum collection include a Japanese prayer and pagoda from 770, created by the order of the Empress Shotoku, and a paper mold and sample papers created in orbit on the space shuttle.


Paper ephemera such as mill journals, historic letters, and a variety of watermarks are included in the collection. Tapa cloths from the South Pacific and historic parchment and vellum samples are examples of non-paper elements collected by Hunter. Decorative papers by numerous twentieth-century artists are a particularly vibrant part of the collection. Museum staff are digitizing the collection to make it available online.

Peter Sowiski, RQ-7 Shadow, 2013. Kozo and abaca paper with woodblock inclusions, pigmented pulps and relief. 11"x16”

Peter Sowiski, RQ-7 Shadow, 2013. Kozo and abaca paper with woodblock inclusions, pigmented pulps and relief. 11″x16”

The museum has permanent exhibitions featuring the development of papermaking and a gallery dedicated to Dard Hunter’s works. A changing gallery features paper artists or selections from the museum collections. Past shows have included Pure Pulp, an exhibit produced by Dieu Donné and the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College; A Gathering of Continents, a collaboration between the museum and the Price-Gilbert Library at Georgia Tech and featuring the 1662 Blaeu Atlas; and selections from portfolios produced by the Journal of Hand Papermaking.


Through a series of transitions and moves, the museum came to Atlanta in 1989, and became part of Georgia Tech in 2003. The museum is proud to offer a full schedule of programs, ranging from school tours to intensive papermaking workshops. The museum is open Monday through Friday, 9-5. Admission is free, but groups of 10 or more are required to book a program in advance.


About our sponsor: The Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking is located in the Renewable Bioproducts Institute at Georgia Tech. Founded by Dard Hunter, the purpose of the museum is to preserve and promote hand papermaking. Find the museum on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 


About the 25 Days of Paper 2016: It’s a great time to celebrate paper, and I’m delighted to share my ideas for using this amazing material with you. If you’d like more info about the Twelve Months of Paper Calendar, click here. Receive these blog updates via e-mail by adding your address in the upper right hand corner of this page. Enjoy the season, and feel free to leave a comment below and check out what people are making in the 25 Days of Paper FB Group!


  1. Great info Helen, thanks.

  2. John O'Brien says:

    I have questions about the embossing practices of 19th century American paper manufacturers.

    Do you have expertise in this area?

    Thank you

    • Helen Hiebert says:

      Hi John, I don’t have expertise, but two things come to mind. I would see what the Robert C. Williams Museum of American Papermaking has in their collection, and you might also look up the Cooper Hewitt Museum in NYC… they have a huge wallpaper collection, and I’m thinking they would have information about embossed wall papers. Thanks for your comment!