Association of European Printing Museums

Annual general meeting 2019

The annual general meeting was held at the Museum Nationaal van der Speelkaart, Turnhout, Belgium, 25 May, 2019

List of members present

Board members: Alan Marshall (chair), Patrick Goossens (Letter-Kunde, Belgium) treasurer and acting secretary, Stefan Soltek (Klingspor Museum, Germany, Pascal Fulacher (Atelier du livre d’art et de l’estampe, France), Robert Clerebaut (Belgium). Excused: Guy Hutsebaut (Plantin-Moretus Museum, Belgium) secretary, Joseph Belletante (Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communication graphique, France), Frederic Terrier (Le mille univers, France), Jurgen Bönig (Germany).

Ordinary members: Amalie Aadahl (Norwegian Printing Museum, Norway), Mark Barbour (International Printing Museum, United States), Zahra Benkass (Atelier-musée de l’imprimerie, France), Robin Boone (Industriemuseum, Belgium), Colin Clarkson (Cambridge University Library), John Cornelisse (Enkidu Pers, Netherlands), Joost Depuydt (Plantin-Moretus Museum, Belgium), Jacques Driot (Maison de l’imprimerie, France), Christelle Fort (Les jardins typographiques, France), Thomas Gravemaker (LetterpressAmsterdam, Netherlands), Walter Hettinck (Drukkerijmuseum Meppel, Netherlands), Charles Hull (British Printing Museum, United Kingdom), Sandra Hull (British Printing Museum, United Kingdom), Monika Jakobs (Luxemburg Museum of Printing and Playing Cards, Luxemburg), Mana Kaasik (Estonian Paper and Printing Museum, Estonia), Marie Kympers (Industriemuseum, Belgium), Hilde Langeraert (Industriemuseum, Belgium), Mats Larsson (Gramus, Sweden), Maria Methi (Gramus, Sweden), Sally Morris (The Type Archive), May Tove Nyrud (Norwegian Printing Museum, Norway), Ludivine Onuczak (Maison de l’imprimerie de Thuin, Belgium), Pavel Pohlreich (National Technical Museum, Czech Republic), Arkadieusz Rogosinski (Book Art Museum, Poland), Pauline Rummel (Estonian Printing Museum, Estonia), Eckehart SchumacherGebler (Offizin Haag-Drugulin, Germany), Slobodanka Sibalic (Museum of Science and Technology, Serbia), Ronald Steur (Stichting Lettergieten, Netherlands), Gregory Walters (United States).

Proxies received: Jean-Paul Maury (Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie, France).

The meeting was chaired by Stefan Soltek.

Approval of the minutes of the last annual general meeting 

In the absence of any objections or abstentions the minutes were approved unanimously.

Chairman’s report

Alan Marshall (chair) gave an account of the Association’s principal activities in 2018, notably the organisation of annual conferences, the circulation of information to the network of members and others interested in printing heritage, and the AEPM’s collaboration with the nascent International Association of Printing Museums (IAPM).

Annual conferences

The annual conference on the theme After printing: bookbinding as cultural heritage was hosted by the Imprenta Municipal – Artes del Libro in Madrid (Spain) and was generally considered to have been a success. It brought together 70 participants from 13 countries.

2018 also saw the groundwork for the preparation of the present conference and the chair took the opportunity to thank our hosts this year, the City of Turnhout and its excellent National Museum of Playing Cards with particular thanks to Sofie Wilder director of the City’s Archives and Museums and Filip Cremers director of the Playing Card Museum who suggested the theme and who have assured the excellent organisation of the event and the warm hospitality. Thanks also went to the Aepm’s organising committee: Patrick Goossens, Guy Hutsebaut and Stefan Soltek and to the volunteer translators who made the four-language website possible: Bernadette Moglia (Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communication graphique, Lyon, France), Stefan Soltek (Klingspor Museum, Offenbach, Germany) and José Bermejo (Imprenta Municipal – Artes del Libro, Madrid, Spain).

The chair also took the opportunity to remind the members present that volunteers to help with the organisation of the annual conference are always very welcome!

Collaboration with the International Association of Printing Museums (IAPM)

The chairman outlined the origins of the AEPM’s contribution to the establishment of the IAPM. This began when Eva Hanebutt-Benz, former director of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz and founding chair of the AEPM was contacted by colleagues in South Korea with a request for help with a view to setting up an international association of printing museums. She contacted the board of the AEPM who agreed to help with the compilation of a world-wide mailing list and by sending information to its network. The result of this collaboration was the presence of a delegation of thirty-odd representatives of European printing museums at the first meeting of the proposed IAPM organised by Cheongju City in South Korea in 2016 at which the formal decision was taken to set up an international association. To this end a working group was established which included four members of the managing board of the AEPM: Guy Hutsebaut, Stefan Soltek, Frédéric Terrier and Alan Marshall. The working groupe also included representatives from Egypt, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore and South Korea. The working group’s job was to prepare the articles of association of the future IAPM as well as the founding meeting which was to take place in Cheongju City in 2018. The IAPM was duly established in 2018 on the occasion of a second conference which again saw the presence of about thirty European representatives. The IAPM’s current projects include the organization of a third conference in South Korea in 2020 and the online and paper publication of an international directory of printing museums worldwide.

The chair encouraged AEPM members to join the IAPM, underlining the opportunity which it offers to develop a global perspective on printing and graphic heritage as well as exchanges and collaborations with organisations that have up until now had little contact with each other. In addition membership of the IAPM is free and opens up the possibility of financial assistance to attend the next conference!

The chair emphasized that the AEPM and the IAPM are entirely independent and complementary organisations and that there are no plans for them to become organisationally interdependent now or in the future. The vocation of the AEPM is resolutely European even if it has a small but growing number of extra-European members. Given that many printing museums have very modest budgets it requires a considerable effort on the part of the AEPM to bring together its members each year for the annual conference. For this reason the AEPM considers that it has to concentrate on organising on a European level in order to generate and maintain a maximum synergy among our present and future members and to increase the visibility of printing heritage.

In the course of a brief discussion of this point Stefan Soltek compared the establishment of a worldwide network of printing museums to building a cathedral: we know where and when it starts, but we don’t know where it will end. What is important is to take action and to be on the move, an approach which he illustrated with the example of a recent collaboration involving a book artist and a connection to the Alexandra Library in Egypt.

Ronald Steur intervened to point out that there can be administrative difficulties in such broad geographic collaboration, citing the case of the Belgian authorities’ refusal to grant a visa for the secretary of IAPM to come from Pakistan to attend the board meeting of the Association which was held in Turnhout on the eve of the AEPM conference.

Providing information for our members (networking)

Another important part of the AEPM’s activities to keep our members informed about what is happening across the printing heritage scene, promoting the exchange of information about the current activities of museums and heritage workshops, new museums and ideas, exhibitions, funding, etc.

To this end it was decided in Madrid last year to revamp the AEPM’s website, giving it a new look (the previous design dated from 2013); to automate the Museum finder interactive world map of printing museum by fully integrating it into the website database; to create a new Publications section aimed at giving greater visibility to the AEPM’s conference proceedings, occasional papers and articles devoted to individual printing museums; and to include the printing museum photo galleries which have up until recently been available on Flickr. (The Flickr gallery is currently in the process of being closed down.)

The website provides a permanent, easily searchable record of activities in the field of printing heritage in four languages with approximately 150 pages, 508 posts, 68 publications and 46 photo galleries. English and French predominate, followed by German, Spanish and Italian in that order.

The site receives about 200 visitors each day (though this rises not infrequently to 500-600). Individual posts generally attract between 200 and 1,000 readers but can go as high as 2,000. Publications generally attract anywhere between 300 and 1,000 readers.

Articles, posts, information and photo coverage of museums’ workshops, exhibitions and collections are always very welcome.

As for the AEPM’s presence on social media the Facebook page has over 1,400 followers. We also have Twitter and Instagram accounts though they are mostly dormant for the moment for lack of someone to look after them.

Auditor’s report

The Rapport du commissaire a l’assemblee generale de l’asbl Association of European Printing Museums sur les compte annuels de l’excercice 2018, prepared by the AEPM’s auditor Cédric Bergamini of the Brussels-based accountants Bureau Darvil, had been circulated with the invitation to the annual general meeting and was presented by the treasurer. It was voted upon and in the absence of objections and abstentions was approved unanimously.

Approval of the accounts for 2018

The treasurer briefly went over the accounts which had also been circulated with the invitation to the annual general meeting. (Ronald Steur asked for and received an extra copy.)

The Association’s balance sheet for 2018 shows a small deficit principally because of the redesign of the web site which cost slightly over 5,000 euros, and the editorial work on the paper publication which was also voted in 2018. Most of the expenses concerning the paper publication (impression, postage) will go through in 2019.

The annual general meeting in Madrid had approved the website and the publication with the risk of emptying the coffers momentarily until the arrival of 2019’s membership fees. In the event this did not happen as the expenditure will be spread over two financial years 2018 and 2019.

The accounts were voted upon and in the absence of objections or abstentions were approved unanimously.

Fixing of the membership fee for 2020

It was proposed that the membership fee remain unchanged. In the absence of objections or abstentions the proposal was approved unanimously.

Granting of discharge to the auditor for 2018 

In the absence of objections or abstentions the discharge to the auditor was approved unanimously.

Renewal of the auditor’s mandate for 2018 

In the absence of objections or abstentions the renewal of the auditor’s mandate was approved unanimously.

Granting of discharge to the members of the board for 2018 

In the absence of objections or abstentions the discharge to the members of the board was approved unanimously.

Budget for the current year 2019

The treasurer indicated that the budget for 2019 is almost closed. We still have some membership and conference fees to collect but no other significant projects or expenditure are planned before the end of the year.

Membership continues to increase:

  • 2017: 92 members representing 15 countries
  • 2018: 99 members representing 23 countries
  • 2019: 109 members representing 27 countries (with 10-15 renewals still expected before the end of the year)

The treasurer also thanked our current supporting members: Museo Alzamora (Spain), Papiermachermuseum (Austria), Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie (J.-P. Maury, France), Museu da Imprensa Madeira (Portugal), Atelier du livre d’art et de l’estampe (France). He encouraged members to spontaneously become supporting members by superseding the normal membership rate.

Recent evolution of income and expenditure

Membership fees Conference Expenditure Net result
2019 6,000 (estimate) 5,500 (estimate)
2018 5,480 4,068 11,458 -1,910
2017 4,809 2,308 5,773 +1,341
2016 4,288 4,229 6,380 +2,138
2015 3,904 2,356 4,285 +1,974

Presentation of the programme of activities for 2019-2020

The preparation of next year’s conference is already underway (see below).

2020 is an important year for the Association because the mandates of the whole board will end, and a new election will take place at next year’s annual general meeting. The president indicated that he intends to stand down as chair. He will however be very happy to continue to serve the Association as an active, but ordinary board member. His decision has been motivated principally by the fact that he has occupied the position since 2012 and that after a tenure of eight years it will be time for change. He feels that the renewal of a large part of the board at the annual general meeting in Chania in 2017 has been very positive and that the sharing of tasks which resulted should be continued and extended with a view to facilitating the nomination of a new chair and assuring a balanced and stable organisation for the future.

Anyone interested in joining the board is warmly encouraged and invited to get in touch with a board member in the coming months.

Venue and date of the next conference and annual general meeting

The next annual conference will take place from the 28 – 30th May 2020 and will be hosted by the Klingspor Museum in Offenbach, Germany. The director of the Museum, Stefan Soltek elaborated on the theme whose working title is The place to print, cities, regions and their print cultures past, present and future. It will focus on how printing heritage relates to local cultures, industries and other territorial specificities. The Main-Rhine region is ideally situated as a background for such a theme because of its important industrial tradition in the field of printing, the Klingspor Museum’s own extensive collections of type and book art, and the proximity of major printing collections in Darmstadt and other regional centres. Among other subjects, the conference will look at the hardware and the products of printing and at lithography which was used for the first time as an artistic ‘tool’ in Offenbach, with an additional focus on artists as key players in the preservation and transmission of heritage techniques. It will include visits to several important collections in the region.

Any other business

Thomas Gravemaker (LetterpressAmsterdam, Netherlands) pointed out the publication of an excellent book on punchcutting by Nelly Gable and Annie Bocel: Dessins de geste, gravure & poinçon typographique, which is also available in English (Drawing the movement, cutting the type punch), from the Parisian publisher Editions des cendres.

John Cornelisse (Enkidu Pers, Netherlands) reported on recent difficulties which the Association pour le Patrimoine industriel in Geneva has gone through and on his efforts to intervene to maintain the Monotype equipment there in working order. He also called for the compilation of a list of Monotype machines and equipment. Referring to the conference papers which were given yesterday Patrick Goossens suggested that a generic cooperation already exists (for example The Belgian Monotype project). Alan Marshall indicated that the AEPM website has opportunity and place to host such a list, or any other initiative of similar nature.

Marc Barbour (International Printing Museum, USA and newly appointed member of the board of the IAPM) enquired about possible further venues and also asks what the selection procedure is. Alan Marshall replied that up until now it has been rather informal, not to say opaque! A situation which will have to change as candidates become more numerous. Generally speaking, the board seeks a balance between opportunity, geographical and thematic variety, candidates’ own calendars, local celebrations, etc.

Zahra Benkass (Atelier-musée de l’imprimerie, Malesherbes, France) took the opportunity to express her museum’s interest in hosting the conference in the near future. Alan indicated that there is already a conference at a French location in the pipeline. Someone wondered whether it might be worth looking into the possibility of combining the two locations, possibly within a longer programme.

Eckehart SchumacherGebler also expressed an interest in hosting the conference in Dresden. He suggested that a ‘real’ production house with Monotype and letterpress would be interesting for the members as to opposed to a museum setting.

After a word of thanks to all present, Stefan Soltek closed the AGM.

Patrick Goossens (treasurer, acting secretary)