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Print museum ‘defies gravity’ at LIA event

Friday, 10 November 2017
By Jake Nelson

LIA members visit the Penrith Museum of Printing.

Sydney’s Penrith Museum of Printing threw its doors open to the NSW branch of the LIA on Wednesday night, showcasing the rich history of printing with several classic machines.

The working museum in Western Sydney, which has recently been renovated and expanded by 120 square metres, houses five printing presses – an Albion, based on Gutenberg’s design; a Treadle Platen; a Heidelberg; a Vertical Miehle; and a Wharfedale. In addition, the 23 LIA members in attendance were able to see an Intertype and two Linotype typesetters, and a Ludlow headline casting machine.

Stephanus Peters.

As part of its dedication to preserving the history of print, the museum also holds letterpress training classes every Saturday, open to anyone with an interest in letterpress printing, printmaking and graphic design. “Our goal is to keep printing going. We want to, in the near future, use our centre for some educational events to promote print,” said committee member Stephanus Peters.

The museum, which has been in operation for 12 years, is the one of the only working printing museums in the Southern Hemisphere; another is The Printing Museum in New Zealand.

James Cryer

LIA member James Cryer, of JDA Print Recruit, said the LIA was ‘delighted’ to attend the event, adding that the letterpress classes give those interested a chance to learn more about printing history. “The Museum seems to defy gravity by continuing to gradually expand – both in size with some additional floor-space being added, but also by offering more training classes in letterpress printing.

“This may come as a surprise to some, but there is an increasing awareness of letterpress as part of our return to a gentler past, where there is perfection in imperfection,” he said.

Cryer urges industry professionals to support the museum, which is operated by volunteers. “The Museum is just managing to make ends meet, but desperately needs additional funds and support, either from individuals, companies or the print industry representative bodies. It is run by a hardy bunch of volunteers, so any assistance is welcome,” Cryer said.

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