An interesting feature to be found at Frontier Homestead State Park Museum is the Print Shop, which is located inside the Carriage Museum Building. The Museum presently has on display two working Chandler & Price platen printing presses, and a non-functional Golding Manufacturing Company, Official model platen press which is being restored.
The Museum has been fortunate to have had donated to it the three printing presses along with a number of printing press related items. The Museum has taken these objects into its collection and exhibits them within a print shop setting. Interpretive information is available through a visitor’s own digital device(s), their cell phone or tablet, by using a QR application on their device or using the cell phone to dial a number to be able to listen to a narrative. Also to be seen in the print shop: a large paper cutter, a machine once used by a local bank for making account labels, and book binding materials.
Several times a year the Museum hosts school groups providing the students the experience of printing a book mark, which they are able to take home with them. And in the first week of December, during the Museum’s Christmas at the Homestead Event, Museum visitors are able to use the smaller Chandler & Price press to print an insert for a Christmas greeting card, which they assemble.
When schools visit the Museum, the students are told about the history of printing and how it developed over time. They are introduced to the printing case and shown the movable type which Johannes Gutenberg developed in the 1450’s in Germany. This revolutionized printing, affording the production of inexpensive books, and leading eventually to the concept of public education for the commoner. The students learn the source for some common phrases such as, “upper case and lower case” as relating to capital and non-capital letters. And “to mind your ‘P’s and Q’s,’” which phrase is related to the printing industry.
Though the use of hand feed platen printing presses are now assigned to “old technology,” they are a fascinating piece of our history to learn about, to see, to experience, and to possibly operate. Come and see and ask questions, and even impart of your knowledge.