Printing Museums — Old World Craft Lives On
That press is said to have produced the first newspaper west of the Rocky Mountains that same year, a four-page weekly news-paper called Ka Lama Hawaii.
Despite becoming dry rotted and termite infested, citizens of Lahaina lobbied to have the Hale Pa’i restored. The building enjoys quite a bucolic setting.
For those of you who enjoy a more formal museum experience, it’s hard to top the Museum of Printing History in Houston. This polished institution boasts a diverse collection of historical documents and fine art prints, as well as antique printing equipment. But it’s not just stoic displays; traditional processes such as stone lithography, letterpress printing, paper making and bookbinding are demonstrated in working studios.
The museum’s Vernon P. Hearn Printmaker’s shop plays host to two 1830s star wheel stone litho presses, a 20th century proof press and a 19th century engraving press. Among its most prized presses are an Albion from around 1820 and a Columbian press, circa 1850.
During tours, guests take part in the printing of a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible pulled from a period press. Workshop visitors can view demonstrations, as well as attend classes for lithography, letterpress printing, binding and paper making.
Also set in a plush, green setting is the Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA. Its expansive collection features most types of letterpresses—platen and cylinder—from the 19th and 20th centuries. It also boasts various other printing technologies, including etching/gravure and offset lithography.
The museum not only displays one of the most comprehensive collections of presses (of which there are more than 50), but also a staggering array of support equipment, including typographical saws and hand miters. Other gear addresses makeup and correction, photography and plate making, along with bindery, mailing and material handling equipment.
The Shakespeare Press Museum is located within Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (CA) and includes more than 500 fonts of handset type. It prints holiday greeting cards, wedding invitations, bookmarks, posters and other various projects. It is geared toward student education, but is open to the public.