Penrith Museum of Printing to re-open its doors on Dec 5

The Penrith Museum of Printing is all set to re-open on December 5, following a period of temporary closures as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns in NSW. 

The Penrith Museum of Printing member James Cryer told Sprinter that the museum has received the ‘all-clear’ in its upcoming re-opening, with the facility to practice safety measures in line with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

COVID vaccination rules will also apply to those who enter, as required by Museums and Galleries of NSW. 

The museum has also made a general policy to be open every Sunday from December 5, from 10am, with Saturday openings on request. 

Admission on the day of December 5 will be free for families as a gesture of goodwill by the museum. 

Established in Penrith NSW, the museum is based on a typical 1940’s printing house and holds a collection of printing machinery and equipment ranging from mid 1840’s to the 1970’s.

The Columbian at the Penrith Museum of Printing

Many of the original presses on site are still in working order and the museum is the largest and only fully-functional museum of its kind in Australia.

It showcases three Linotype machines, a Copper mural of Gutenberg’s Workshop donated by Cryer himself, the last front page of The Melbourne Age in Hot Metal in 1988 which was donated by Fairfax, and a Gestetner duplicator donated by PMP’s Craig Dunsford.

In pride of place is the fully-restored Columbian Press, which was dragged over the Blue Mountains in 1831. This rare specimen sat in Fairfax head office for many years and is quite a spectacle painted in red, black and gold.

The Penrith Museum of Printing also houses an 1864 Albion Press and an 1880’s Wharfedale printing press, in addition to the largest collection of books – about 600 – relating to the print industry. 

“We will have most of the machines operating when we re-open. Most of the presses will be demonstrated by our volunteers,” Cryer said. 

The museum also has in place a Group Tours programme, designed to provide visitors with knowledge and understanding of how the printed word used to be produced before the advent of the computer.

“We’re doing quite a good trade in tours. They will continue and have continued. About 90 per cent of these tours are retirement groups like Rotary, Probus and car clubs. We had the Morgan Sports Car Club come through a few months ago and got a good report from them,” Cryer added. 

The museum is also seeking more active members in the printing industry, with its updated website now hosting an easy-to-navigate membership portal. 

The Penrith Museum of Printing and the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) in Armidale, NSW will also soon informally collaborate on several occasions to bring together technical and artistic printing.

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