The Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking interprets the history of paper and paper technology. The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, increase and disseminate knowledge about papermaking: past, present and future. In addition to having a large permanent collection that traces the history of papermaking, the museum’s also hosts exhibitions by contemporary artists working the fields of paper, printmaking, and book arts.
Located in the Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech, the museums feature a large collection of more than 2,000 books and over 10,000 watermarks, papers, tools, machines, and manuscripts. The permanent collection traces the history of papermaking from its humble beginnings to the advanced technology of today.
In addition to exhibits, programs on papermaking and paper-related arts are offered year round.
Originally called the Dard Hunter Paper Museum, the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum began in 1939. Located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, creator Dard Hunter filled the museum with various artifacts. However, few people visited the museum and it was eventually moved to a smaller building on campus.
In 1954, the Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton, Wisconsin offered the museum a place on its campus. Hunter became the curator and held the job until his death in 1966.
Later, in 1989, the Institute of Paper Chemistry (along with Hunter’s collection) was relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and renamed the Institute of Paper Science and Technology.
During the spring of 1993, the museum was re-opened under a new name: the American Museum of Papermaking. In 1996 the museum received a substantial donation from the James River Corporation, which resulted in another new name: the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, in recognition of Robert C. Williams, the co-founder of the James River Corporation. The George W. Mead Education Center was built in 2005.