Located in Torrance, the International Printing Museum captures the history of the development of books and printing with what many consider to be one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of historic graphic arts equipment in the world. The collection includes a replica of the Gutenberg Press as well as the third oldest printing press made in America.
The museum, though, is much more than just one of the largest collections of antique printing presses in the United States. It hosts numerous school outreach programs and events, live theater performances, year-round classes in The Book Arts Institute and five different interactive group tours geared toward bringing their world-class collection to life. The staff and volunteers that help explain the significance of the antique machinery and the lives of historical figures like Benjamin Franklin are extremely knowledgeable and great at keeping the stories interesting. That’s great for the kids, and with more than 500,000 students and visitors through the doors since it opened in 1988, they know what they’re doing!
The museum’s Facebook page has many photos posted that give you a good idea of the experience.
The International Printing Museum also hosts the annual Los Angeles Printers Fair the first weekend in October every year. Billed as a “celebration of paper and printing,” it brings together the worlds of letterpress printing, book arts, printmaking, papermaking and collecting as the largest gathering of its kind in the West.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and by appointment from Tuesday through Friday. Admission is $8 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. A public non-profit, the museum was founded by David Jacobson and Ernest A. Lindner.