Independence Day Celebration at the International Printing Museum

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.

Exterior of the museum, with a large sign reading "International Printing Museum."

Myself, wearing a white t-shirt with a bald eagle holding a bell with text reading "Bi-Centennial 1776-1976 Proclaim Liberty thruout the Land" standing near a variety of antique printing presses

Close-up of detail of a printing press which features a gold eagle.

Myself, wearing a white t-shirt with a bald eagle holding a bell with text reading "Bi-Centennial 1776-1976 Proclaim Liberty thruout the Land" standing near a variety of antique printing presses

Type cases on display and holding various letters.

Myself rolling pink onto a printing plate.

Myself pulling down on the press.

Variety of paper goods made at the museum are scattered around a t-shirt with a printing press on it. Items include the Gettysburg Address, the music to "The Star Spangled Banner," the Declaration of Independence.

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.

A man sits at a Linotype machine making Linotype stamps.

My hand holding a Linotype block reading "Atomic Redhead"

Myself, wearing a white t-shirt with a bald eagle holding a bell with text reading "Bi-Centennial 1776-1976 Proclaim Liberty thruout the Land" standing near a variety of antique printing presses

A woman demonstrates how letter press letters are made, by pouring hot metal into a mold.

Close-up of my shorts. A red belt features a bronze belt buckle featuring an image of the Liberty Bell and text reading "1776 Liberty Bell 1976 Ring for Independence" the shorts are white with various text and images in red and blue. Words such as "Washington," "Stamp Act," "Peace," "1776," "Concord," and "Jefferson" are intermixed with images of Washington crossing the Delaware, cannon, American flag, stars, and ships.

A man demonstrates how one of the antique printing presses is used.

Myself, wearing a white t-shirt with a bald eagle holding a bell with text reading "Bi-Centennial 1776-1976 Proclaim Liberty thruout the Land" standing near a variety of antique printing presses

An antique press sits in a mock up of Benjamin Franklin's print shop.

Close-up of a printing press which features a shield with stars and stripes, and crossed American flags.

Myself, wearing a white t-shirt with a bald eagle holding a bell with text reading "Bi-Centennial 1776-1976 Proclaim Liberty thruout the Land" standing near a variety of antique printing presses

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!

Outfit
Mask: Target
Undermask: RZ Mask
T-shirt, Shorts, & Belt Buckle: Ebay
Purse: Frock You, San Diego, California

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