The spare collection of the Pijpenkabinet Foundation includes over 25,000 items which are carefully stored in three different rooms. The collections of archaeological finds and clay pipes is by far the largest. These items are stored in large cabinets containing in total 300 drawers, systematically arranged in a most compact way. The reference collection is the national archive for pipes from all periods and of all origins. This spare collection serves as the base for fundamental publications about the history of the pipe. Also, this collection is used for comparison and information retrieval as a service for the answering of questions that rise almost daily from researchers all over the world.
For the pipe makers' tools a separate room is in use that is open to public. Here over a thousand brass and iron press moulds are on display including the other tools once in use by pipemakers. Looking through an antique window, visitors get a glimpse into an ancient workshop.
The smoking pipes of more fagile materials such as meerschaum, wood, metal and others are stored separately under better climate conditions. These items are also placed in drawers, arranged by material and size. There are some sixty drawers in use for these groups. Finally, the larger objects are stored in racks.
All the objects in the collection have a reference number that is registered in the (computerised) database of the museum. The database of every object in the collection consists of thirty fields with different data and makes research towards any imaginable question possible. There is information about the place of production, the makers name and the makers mark. Often commends on the objects are given as well, that throw light on the place of the item in their time and among their makers as well as users.
Archive data and documentary sources to the sum of half a million entries are stored in an additional system. The information is used for the research, i.e. dating. Extra entries enable it to compare basic information with similar items in other collections and in literature.
Please click on the drawer below to see get a view into the storage room of the Amsterdam Pipe Museum.