The town of Laakirchen lies 11 km north of Gmund in Upper Austria and Steyrmühl is a hamlet a short distance further north, close to the E50 highway. A paper mill operated on an ancient water-power site at Steyrermühl between 1868 and 1988, and the buildings were subsequently adapted as a museum which opened in 1997.
Many aspects of the history of paper are illustrated, particularly the use of machinery in its manufacture. A highlight of the display is a replica of the paper-making machine invented in France by Nicholas-Louis Robert (1761-1828) in 1798-99, the patent for which was purchased by the brothers Henry and Sealy Fourdrinier, who applied the machine in England. The manufacture of paper by hand is also illustrated, with opportunities for visitors to dip moulds in vats of pulp to make their own sheets of paper. The later stages of the hand process, wooden presses and drying lofts also form part of the exhibition.
A section of the museum illustrating the history of lithographic printing opened in 2000. There are also displays illustrating the lives of papermakers and their families in the region.