The Penrith Museum of Printing has reopened after a three-month long hiatus as a result of a temporary closure following COVID-19.
The Penrith Museum of Printing committee member James Cryer told Sprinter that the museum has received the ‘all-clear’ in its reopening, with the facility to practice safety measures in line with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
“We had to get permission from the State Tourism department and peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector, Museums and Galleries, and we got the approval to reopen the museum last week,” he said.
“The museum has been disinfected and cleaned, and Museums and Galleries checked the vicinity before approvals. We have put the usual safety measures in place and will continue to practice these safety standards during this time as we continue our operations.”
The Penrith Museum of Printing was inaugurated 20 years ago, with a reopening in November 2018 after a 12-month closure for renovations.
Costing some $120,000, the museum funded the renovations back then through its tours and other activities, and a generous donation from the Single Width Users Group (SWUG).
Run by a team of volunteers, including Bob Lockley, former group director of print and distribution at Fairfax, the Museum was born out of the closure of a local newspaper, The Nepean Times, founded in the 1880s.
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 Muriel of Guttenberg’s Workshop donated by Cryer himself, the last front page of The Age in Hot Metal in 1988 which was donated by Fairfax, and a Gestetner duplicator donated by PMP’s Craig Dunsford.
“Some of these machines at the museum, especially the linotype machines, are rare and the fact that you can still see these machines in operation is amazing,” Cryer said.
“The museum is a bridge between technology and art. Printing plays a vital role in civilisation as, yes, it is mechanical process but it’s all about giving expression to craftmanship, creativity and communication.”
It also has the largest collection of books– about 600 – relating to the print industry.
Cryer said the reminder of heritage that the museum provides is needed in the industry, especially when it comes to encouraging a younger generation to get involved in print.
“We would love nothing more than to see friendly faces from our industry at the museum. With the number of people in print encompassing a younger generation, it’s becoming more important to note the existence of the Penrith Museum of Printing and its value,” he said.
“It is even suitable for calligraphy students, those in typesetting, bookbinding, and even paper making.”
According to Cryer, the museum plans to step up efforts in working with associations and TAFE to get the youth to visit the museum.
The museum’s claim to fame was also appearing in the Ladies in Black movie. A scene showing the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper being produced in 1959 by actor Shane Jacobson as a Linotype operator was filmed in the building.
The museum is looking to move to bigger premises in the coming years and its current committee is encouraging people within the industry to step up and join it.
“We do need people with a foot in the industry to join our committee, as well as volunteers to help us meet and greet visitors. Many of our visitors aren’t from the printing industry, so these volunteers won’t be required to have the technical knowledge of print to interact with visitors,” Cryer added.
The Penrith Museum of Printing is also selling 3D-printed miniature Guttenberg presses to raise money for the museum.
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