1324 West Clay
Houston, TX 77019
1324 West Clay
Houston, TX 77019
|Tuesday - Saturday||10 AM - 5 PM|
The Museum also hosts groups dedicated to maintaining the arts of the book: the Museum's Book Arts Group and its Printers' Guild each meet on a monthly basis to promote collaboration, exchange techniques and ideas, and to create hands-on projects.
Free for self-guided tours
Ann Kasman, Executive Director
Amanda Stevenson, Curator
Rose Watts, Office Manager
Charles Criner, Artist in Residence
Kevin Curry, Facilities Manager
The Museum of Printing History displays a dynamic collection of historical documents, fine art prints, and antique printing equipment. Our Museum is more, though, than its permanent collection. It is alive with exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and demonstrations. In our galleries and working studios, we demonstrate the traditional processes of stone lithography, letterpress printing, papermaking, and bookbinding.
The mission of the Museum is to promote, preserve, and share the knowledge of printed communication and art as the greatest contributors to the development of the civilized world and the continuing advancement of freedom and literacy.
The Museum of Printing History was founded in 1979 by Raoul Beasley, Vernon P. Hearn, Don Piercy, and J. V. Burnham, four printers with passions for preserving their vast collections and sharing them with the community. It was chartered in 1981 and had its official opening in 1982 with Dr. Hans Halaby, Director of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany, cutting the ribbon.
Artifacts in the collection range in time from humanity's earliest writing through the twenty-first century. Our exhibitions document history from the origins of printing on Mesopotamian clay tablets around 3000 B.C., through pre-Gutenberg manuscript production. The collection reflects the beginning of printing in Europe with Gutenberg's invention of movable type, and illustrates printing of the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, and beyond.
A visitor will find the Dharani Scroll, an 8th-century Japanese text which is commonly considered the first example of printing words onto paper; a page from William Caxton, the first printer of the English language; a Spanish-Nahuatl dictionary printed by Juan Pablos, the first printer in the Americas; Old Master woodcuts and engravings; and various other treasures. In addition, the Museum contains exhibit spaces devoted to American Colonial printed documents and examples of early Texas printing.
A reference library of approximately 5000 volumes is available to the public by appointment. Subjects include the history of printing and related arts of the book, as well as reference texts related to any portion of the Museum’s permanent collection. Items include catalogs, manuals, ephemera, reference books, and periodicals to which the Museum subscribes or has subscribed. The Museum also maintains a large collection of wood and metal type, printing presses, cuts and dies, along with specimen books and ephemera from type foundries and paper companies.
- During our guided tours, visitors participate in the hands-on printing of a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible pulled from a period-accurate press, then move to the printing of the Declaration of Independence on a 19th-century Columbian iron handpress. Our tours complement a wide range of study, from science and technology to English Language Arts, from history to fine arts. While they explore the Museum, visitors and students will encounter scholars and artists who are gifted at bringing the past to life.
Visitors to our workshops can view demonstrations and attend classes in letterpress printing, bookbinding, papermaking, lithography, and related arts. Our teachers, noted artists in their fields, welcome opportunities to display and discuss their work, in addition to teaching intensive classes. The Museum also hosts groups dedicated to maintaining the arts of the book: the Museum's Book Arts Group and its Printers' Guild each meet on a monthly basis to promote collaboration, exchange techniques and ideas, and to create hands-on projects.
501(c)3 governed by a Board of Directors
Access: General Public
Appointment required: Yes
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