For Christmas last year I got Patrick a membership to the International Printing Museum. Honestly I think museum memberships make for brilliant gifts, but I digress. Because of his membership we received a postcard advertising their Independence Day Celebration on July 3, and it sounded like the perfect way to spend part of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, plus I found a pair of vintage shorts that were very fitting for the occasion. While Patrick and I had visited the museum back in 2016 and really loved it, we also used the event as an excuse to invite some friends who had never been before.
During the museum’s normal hours, it offers amazing demonstrations showcasing the variety of printing machines they have, including casting metal type and printing a Gutenberg bible page on a reproduction press. But for the Independence Day Celebration there were many more hands-on experiences, including printing your very own Declaration of Independence, greeting cards, and even t-shirts. I had a lot of fun rolling ink and then using the variety of presses.
Another souvenir is a product of one of my favorite machines, the Linotype. The Linotype revolutionized the industry. Prior to its invention, words had to be constructed of individual letter blocks, which was painstakingly time consuming. Linotype casts “slugs” of metal type, which are produced while the words themselves are typed. This was the standard for producing newspapers from the late 19th century through the 1980s. Last time I was the museum I got my name, this time I decided to get my blog title.
The Printing Museum does a good job of bringing history to life, because you really get to see just what printing was like in the decades and centuries before. So while the Independence Day Celebration is over for another year, I still highly recommend visiting!
The Independence Day Celebration isn’t the only event the museum hosts, it also offers a printers fair in the fall, which we have often thought about going to, and just finally might go this year!
Learn about the history of printing at the International Printing Museum at 315 W. Torrance Boulevard in Carson, just south of Los Angeles. Visit their website for more details on hours and upcoming events. Not in the area, but just love old timey print stuff? You can support the museum by shopping their Etsy shop!