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March 18, 2009

Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig

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Front View of The Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig
(c) The Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig - All rights reserved
A part of the exhibition
(c) The Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig - All rights reserved
Museum Shop (c) The Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig - All rights reserved
Facts about the museum
In today’s information society, museums act as knowledge repositories and thus form a bridge between history and the present day. This is certainly true of the Leipzig Museum of the Printing Arts, where the production of print media can be experienced with all the senses. A very special experience awaits those who are able to visit the Museum of the Printing Arts in Leipzig. By combining a working print shop and a museum, it provides a close-up view of five hundred years of printing history. In this unique setting, more than 200 working machines and presses demonstrate the techniques of copperplate printing, lithography and letterpress. The museum’s four floors are devoted to manual and mechanical typesetting and the various printing processes. A type foundry in full working order shows visitors how lead type is cast either by hand or by machine – a genuine rarity.
Visitors become acquainted with the ‘black art’, as printing has always been known, which is vividly brought to life in this ‘hands-on’ museum whose motto is “see, smell and touch”. Guided by the specialist staff, visitors can set lines of text themselves or have various motifs printed on the platen presses as they tour the exhibition. In addition to printing machines, the Leipzig Museum of the Printing Arts has some forty tons of lead type, matrices and steel dies in its collection, for a wide variety of typefaces of European and oriental origin. It also houses a fully equipped bindery where books can be bound by hand. Visitors can watch modern graphic prints being produced and can purchase them in the museum shop, together with samples of lead type, cards, ex-libris folders and small graphic artworks. Artists often come to the museum too in order to produce woodcuts, lithographs and etchings on historic machines.
The Museum of the Printing Arts holds regular workshops and courses on the use of historic printing techniques. Under the expert guidance of artists, participants can produce their own etchings and lithographs, and print them by traditional means. Traditional typesetting, letterpress printing and bookbinding techniques can also be learned at workshops run by the Museum. The annual festival, known as ‘Leipziger Typotage’, exhibitions on special topics and numerous other events complete the museum’s attractive programme.

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