Visiting a printing museum is likely not a college student’s priority, but this one will likely leave a good impression.
The International Printing Museum in Torrance houses one of the world’s most significant collections of antique printing machinery. In 1988 the museum was established in Buena Park by David Jacobson of Gutenberg Expositions and collector Ernest Lindner, along with it’s founding curator and now also executive director Mark Barbour.
“Generally with most museums visitors have to bring the story with them, having to pull it out of the signage,” says Barbour, “but we take the time to tell the stories behind our collection. The collection comes to life through story telling, and the museum becomes a personal experience.”
Throughout the year the museum holds several interactive events including the printers fair, kids day, Independence Day celebration, dickens day, boys scouts merit badge day, and more. The museum’s largest event, The Los Angeles Printer’s Fair, brings in about 1,500 visitors, and 100 vendors.
“Every inch of the museum is used,” says Barbour. Event’s activities vary, including theatrical performances, hands on printing experiences, and more.
Recently last month the museum held the second annual Beauty of Engraving Symposium, an event highlighting the dying art of engraving on the printing press.
“I had visited the museum some time ago and really enjoyed my experience, so when I received an invitation to attend the event I jumped at the opportunity,” said former two dimensional art student, Corina Barnick, 25. Now an event coordinating manager for a clothing company, Barnick says, “A place like the printing museum allows me to immerse myself into something inspiring.”
Graphic design instructor from Bellflower High School, Brian Ahumada, also attending the event said, “I’m really looking forward to coming back and bringing my students!”
The museum is an enjoyable experience for a variety of people and Barbour is well aware of how to convey the same information while tailoring it to each audience.
“The way to pull in a third grader,” Barbour said, “is different than how to pull in a college student, or even an eighth grader.”
He further explains, “Visitors leave the museum feeling not only having experienced something new but also with a sense of enrichment and growth in their own story.”
The International Printing Museum is located at 315 W. Torrance Blvd. in Carson.
Featured Photo: Engraving press at work using white ink in the International Printing Museum.