1. jaanuar 2001

Estonian Printing Museum

Please note — the English section of our site is abysmally short, but in fact we do speak your language (and many others, for half our staff is international) and you are absolutely always welcome to drop us a line or simply drop by :)

The Estonian Printing Museum hosts a collection of letterpress presses, typefaces and other printhouse machinery from mid-19th to late 20th century. The soul of the museum is however the activities in workshops, from printing your own postcard to working on a linocut art print. It does not matter what age you are or whether you can draw. As longs you know your ABC, there is a lot of ways to explore your creative side and learn something about the art of printing in the process.

Take a look at videos about us: http://www.trykimuuseum.ee/2013/07/videomaterjal-videos.html


Workshops
Taking a look around is free, but we really recommend you try one of our workshops:
  • Print your own poscards: select from a few interesting landmarks of Tartu, add a greeting with metal type letters and print as many as you like. € 5 / participant (€ 3 for kids), duration from 30 minutes.
  • Design and make a spiral bound notebook, using precut linocuts, lineart and woodblock letters. € 6 / participant (€ 3,60 kids), duration from 30 minutes. NB! even the smaller children love this one. It's quick, very simple and you get something practical as a result!
  • Linocut artprint: carve an image into linoloeum, ink it, print it. You can frame the print at home, create a greeting card or use it as a notebook cover. € 12 / person (€ 7,50 kids), duration from 2 hours.
  • All day studio pass: do anything from series of business cards to an A2 poster. We'll help you along the way, but leave plenty of room for you to experiment. € 25 / person (€ 15 kids) and you can literally spend an entire day
Children, students and groups get a discount. Inquire for more details.

Visiting
Location: Kastani 38, Tartu
Officially the museum is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 - 18:00. But we are here at other times too, so do not hesitate to call or email us if you'd like to come any other time. We speak English, but will also manage in Russian and Finnish. If we know in advance, we can organise for Hungarian, German, French, Persian or Arabic to be spoken. Seriously.
Guided tours can be arranged for € 24 / h. The maximum group size is around 25. If there are more of you, we can split the group with the Paper Museum!
Please note — we have a cat, so if you are severely allergic, please let us know in advance and we'll send it away!
Contact
gutenberg@trykimuuseum.ee
+372 5682 8117

History

The museum started, as many good initiatives, not from long term planning, but rather of lucky coincidences. In the spring of 2004 a couple of well-known Estonian graphic artists and printmakers Reiu Tüür and Marko Mäetamm turned to us in Kultuuritehas Polymer in Tallinn – back then a newly established center for artists-in-residence, exhibition and performance platform. Their concern was salvaging equipment from an old printing workshop in the process of merging with a more modern company. More than 20 pieces of machinery including a large format cilinder press Victoria 1040 were moved over to their present location including a full set of wooden letters and Ludlow matrices. Printing of posters was continued with only a few weeks interruption spent on reassembling the equipment. Two ladies of the original personnel were transferred to the payroll of the museum, thus enabling the Printing Museum to claim non-stop continuation of the history of the original printing company started in 1633.

During its existence the museum has aquired several collections and separate pieces of letterpress machinery, other equipment and literature from discontinued printing factories, private collections of retired printers and other organisations.

In 2008 as a result of a large donation in the town of Tartu in southern Estonia an independent collection was established there in 2008.

As a legal body the Estonian Museum of Printing was established in 2010 by two private persons daily active in the managing and leadership of the museum.

The collections are housed in a building with a history in printing industry dating back to 1924. This heritage site also houses a cultural centre with activities ranging from artists’s studios, educational and childrens’ activities, a hostel and a club. Please visit www.nelk.ee for more information.
Today the 300 sqm space occupied by the printing museum is used as an exhibition hall together with a graphics art studio for students and visiting artists, office and archives.

Aims of the museum:


  • Collecting and preservation of material heritage
    Although during it’s 6 years of existence the collection has incorporated most of the surviving letterpress and antique machinery of the old printing-houses in Estonia and this field will probably give little further additions in the future, the collection will grow with depositions of equipment from other museums not directly specialising in printing histroy, depositions and gifts from other institutions and private persons.
    The preservation and restauration work is only in the beginning and the museum is here relying on the help from volunteering old printing specialists and hired professionals.
  • Recording and preserving heritage know-how
    This field of work is of the most urgent matter. As the technological progress of Soviet Estonia was some decades behind that of Western Europe, we have a number of old artisans familiar with the out of date machinery and work processes. Recording their methods of work demonstrated on the museum equipment and passing the knowledge on to museum personnel is of extreme importance.
  • Incorporating interest groups and artists in the museum development
    We see the museum as a focal meeting point for old and new technologies, giving modern-day typograpers and graphic artists a rare chance to get acknowledged to the roots of their trade. We strive to keep the simple and reliable equipment in service for small scale printing work enabling educational and artwork being performed in the museum, thus greatly broadening the circle of people interested in our work and printing history in general.

    Interests of our target groups range from technological to artistic and literary, include all nationalities, educations and ages.
  • Workshops and activities
    The Estonian Printing Museum has established involvment in the life of local society as one of our statutory aims.
    Through educational and recreational activities, museum workshops, site-specific cultural events like art exhibitions and concerts, going out to fairs and other public events, participating in the Night of the Museums program etc we give our best to involve, entertain and educate our existing and future audiences.
    The museum space is available for private events together with a programme of workshops and lectures. We offer postcard-making, printing and binding of notebooks, designing personal posters and other printed matter.
    Such events also provide a welcome addition to museum’s own income.

Museum products

In our shop we offer a range of products created on-site in cooperation with our personnel and designers. You will finde unique gift items, both practical and aestethically enjoyable which are made on the museum equipment, using either leftovers of production or new material from our local partners in small-scale paper industry.

The available range include postcards, posters, notebooks, sketch blocks etc and is becoming broader thanks to the input of ideas by our resident artists and visitors.

You can find our items on sale in our Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ThePrintingMuseum


Support the museum

Your personal support to our initiative can be expressed in a variety of forms:
  • The museum bank account and donation box are open to direct monetary donations.
  • Sharing your knowledge in the field of printing history and related disciplines either by coming and having a chat with us or writing or sending in items, videos or documents. 
  • Visiting the museum and participating in our workshops, choosing us as a place for your personal events or buying our products
  • Giving us feedback about our activities, even critical feedback is valuable to us. 
  • And donating your time as the museum is always in need of a pair of helping hands be it cleaning the equipment or sorting the “onion stack” of leaden letters left behind by a pair of burglars years ago.

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