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Experience printing history – preserve industrial culture

Europe: Heritage Lived Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig

The Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig is a place of vibrant industrial culture, located in the former industrial district Plagwitz. Here you can trace 500 years of print and media history as well as historical type-casting, setting and printing processes.

Printed text and image media are the cornerstone of the European culture and knowledge society. The Museum of the Printing Arts shows a collection on the historic printing processes of letterpress, gravure and planographic printing, making it the only house in Germany that combines three different printing techniques under one roof. Crafts such as woodcutting, lithography and etching are traditional artistic techniques that are still appreciated and used by printers and artists. The museum has a fully functional machinery and workshops, as well as foundry. All printing processes are presented by professionals in the printing industry. Especially the collotype-workshop is one of only four still functioning production facilities in the world where the elaborate "queen of printing techniques" can be taught and used.

The projects’ aim in the Museum of the Printing Arts is to preserve and convey the art and craft printing techniques as an active and innovative form of expression for texts and images, in an increasingly digital world. Printing techniques, together with typography, are an important keystone for European cultural education. The museum's printing workshops not only cultivate and develop traditional printing techniques, but also awaken the interest of the next generation in the preservation of this cultural heritage.

In changing special exhibitions, works of art in printmaking are placed in international cultural and historical references. At the beginning of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, the exhibition "Come to Finland. Finnish posters since 1853" presents the cultural heritage of Finnish travel posters. The posters were created with the techniques of lithography and offset printing. Furthermore, starting in April 2018 the exhibition "Pangramme: learning type design " shows designs by 50 young typeface designers from around the world.

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