The National Print Museum collects, documents, preserves, exhibits, interprets and makes accessible the material evidence of the printing craft and fosters associated skills of the craft in Ireland.
The National Print Museum has a collection of over 10,000 objects that covers the whole range of the printing craft in Ireland. The collection comprises printing machinery and artefacts including printing blocks, metal and wooden movable type, ephemera, photographs, books, pamphlets, periodicals and one banner. The collection policy relates to the period in Ireland of printing from movable type, since its introduction to Ireland in the 16th century. While traditional letterpress printing was made redundant in the commercial sense, the craft of letterpress is still very much alive. The Museum is a working museum with a panel of active retired printers and typesetters regularly maintaining and demonstrating the collection, and providing training.
In autumn 2010, the National Print Museum was awarded funding from the then Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for the redevelopment of the permanent exhibition. The primary aim of redeveloping the permanent exhibition was to make the history of letterpress printing more accessible to a wider audience. The lay-out mirrors that of a printing workshop with composing, printing and finishing areas. On display is a representative collection of this rich centuries-old printing heritage. Due to space constraints only 30% of the collection is on display at the Museum at any given time. In this digital age where information is at our fingertips, the National Print Museum affords the opportunity to step back in time to discover the traditional craft of letterpress printing and appreciate the importance of the invention of the printed word.
It is recognised that the role of the Museum was fundamentally educational and as such an Education Officer position is in place at the Museum since 2005. Over time a full and successful education programme, for both formal and informal audiences, has been created and developed including guided tours, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, demonstration days, training seminars and most recently in 2012, the provision of a new self-guided education area for families and children. In conjunction with the internal educational provisions outlined above, the Education Department of the Museum works each year with external organisations by participating in a number of National events including Heritage Week, Culture Night, Children’s Book Festival, Bealtaine, Science Week and more recently Open House Junior.
The National Print Museum is a Limited Company and Registered Charity (CHY 10701). The Museum is supported by the Department of Arts, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and is fully accredited under The Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland.