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Panel Discussion—Jim Hamilton, Rob Saunders, Jim Moran, Sandro Berra, Mark Barbour: The Future of the Printing Museum

Clockwise from top left: Sandro Berra, Jim Hamilton, Jim Moran, Rob Saunders, and Mark Barbour.

Sat., Nov. 7 | This distinguished panel discussed the wide variety of approaches to preserving the history and craft of printing. Each panelist gave an introduction to his institution, followed by a discussion led by Jim Hamilton.

Mark Barbour, Director of the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA, presented a video about the museum’s large collection of machinery, type, and documentary materials. Its activities focus on educational opportunities for the public and, in particular, for young people.

Sandro Berra, Director of Tipoteca, a museum, archive, and workshop in Cornuda, near Treviso in Italy, described their extensive collection and emphasis on the museum as a working studio printshop.

Jim Hamilton, Board Member of the Museum of Printing in Haverhill, MA, presented the museum’s collection of machinery, type, and other materials along with its library and archival collections, which are in a relatively new building.

Jim Moran, Master Printer and Collections Officer of the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Three Rivers, WI, talked about the Hamilton collection and the many educational and design-related activities the museum offers.

Rob Saunders, Executive Director of Letterform Archive in San Francisco, began his presentation by pointing out the differences between his institution and the others on the panel: Letterform Archive focuses on typography and design rather than printing technology and machines, and their collections are primarily print and graphics-based. He spoke in vivid detail about their efforts to expand the reach of their collections by digitization and online access.

Each panelist spoke of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from the curtailing of opportunities for direct interaction with the public who support their programs to financial strains.

In all, the panelists presented a comprehensive overview of the state of the art in preserving the cultural and aesthetic heritage of printing.