It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s a Pencil Sharpener?

From the Collection of The Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia

Terminal A-West
Ticketed passengers

Yes. All of the quirky objects in this exhibition are pencil sharpeners. But they are not your average, non-descript pencil sharpener. This selection of miniature, figural, hand-held pencil sharpeners represents a small part of the entire collection that numbers more than 900. Donated by a private collector to Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum in 2000, these whimsical pencil sharpeners are functional objects produced as souvenirs and for pure enjoyment. 

Mostly constructed of plastic, except for the metal blades of the interior mechanism, these toy-like pencil sharpeners resemble innumerable objects and some have moving parts. There are miniature animals, airplanes, trains, boats, sports equipment, and food such as a hamburger, croissant, an ice cream cone, and sushi. There are household items like fans, trash cans, telephones, and -- even more unusual – a toilet. Similarly unexpected is the human nose and lips sharpeners. 

So, next time you reach for an ordinary pencil sharpener, remember, there are countless creative alternatives.

Founded in 1976, Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum is the City’s children’s museum – a hands-on environment where “learning is child’s play.” The Museum is internationally recognized as a leader in instituting what is referred to as “purposeful play” or learning through fun activities and interactive exhibits. Through purposeful play, children develop their problem-solving skills, imaginations, and creativity.

The Please Museum is the appropriate home for this unique collection of pencil sharpeners offering so many children and adults the continual enjoyment of these highly imaginative objects.

Visit www.pleasetouchmuseum.org.