PRINTING MUSEUMS — Graphic Arts Get-aways

Meanwhile, in North Andover, MA, The Museum of Printing is the result of the efforts of an organization known as the Friends of the Museum of Printing, which was established in 1978.

The Friends were dedicated to founding a printing museum devoted to the graphic arts that would be a legacy for future generations, says Gardner LePoer, executive director.

“Printing history has been poorly documented,” LePoer contends. “We hope to alter that.”

To help preserve the history of printing, The Museum of Printing collection includes examples of most of the different types of letterpresses made in the 19th and 20th centuries, including both platen and cylinder design presses.

Other printing technologies, such as etching/gravure and offset lithography, are also represented. The museum has a wide variety of typesetting machines from the hot-metal and phototype eras. The museum’s library has catalogs, maintenance manuals and influential books that are relevant to various printing topics.

Printing methods of the past are not the only techniques featured at this facility. LePoer notes that the museum has the ability to provide demonstrations on equipment all the way up to the digital printing age. “We really tell the entire story of printing in America,” he stresses.

The museum’s building, on North Andover Common, was originally built as an industrial history museum in the 1960s by the North Andover Historical Society. It is located in the Boston Navy Yard—part of the Boston National Historic Park—and is now also the home to the National Park Service’s regional headquarters, the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) and her museum.

Headed Out West

For museum-goers on the West Coast, The International Printing Museum, in Carson, CA, should quench your thirst for printing history. Established in 1988 by Dave Jacobson and the late Ernie Lindner, the museum takes visitors on a guided tour through its collection of antique printing machines and artifacts covering more than 500 years.

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