More than 500 years have passed since Johannes Gutenberg invented the very first printing press. Since then, we have seen how printers have evolved from creative craftsmen to digital communicators. While it’s much more convenient to use expensive and sophisticated presses these days, print leaders, stakeholders, and everyone involved in printing should still know how to appreciate the history of printing. After all, knowing the past is the key to the future.
The Museum of Printing founded in 1979 is the edifice of printing’s rich history. It narrates how printing has transformed people’s lives from ancient Mesopotamia until the present time. The American history and all pivotal moments in between are narrated through newspaper documents as exhibited in the museum. This includes newspaper accounts from the American Revolution to the Civil War to the Digital Age.
Aside from newspaper accounts, the museum also stores artifacts from the primeval age through the 21st century—from the Mesopotamian clay tablets through the Renaissance and beyond. Among the notable artifacts are the Ancient Papyrus Fragments, the 1450 Gutenberg Press Replica, 1830 Star-wheel Oak Lithography Press, and an Antique Bookbinding Equipment.
There are 4 working galleries (crafts of stone lithography, letterpress printing, papermaking, and bookbinding) in the museum, each having working artists that demonstrates the different crafts using vintage equipment. Workshops are offered to give children, adults, and families a change to experience the historical art of printing firsthand.
The museum is located at 1324 West Clay Street Houston, Texas. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. Admission is free for self-guided tours. Visit printingmuseum.org for more information.