Why do we make printing museums?
The AEPM’s annual conference was hosted in 2022 by the Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie in Malesherbes, France (5 – 7 May).
Dorothee Ader, director of the Klingspor Museum, Offenbach (Germany) // Olivier Deloignon, former printer, professor of the history of the book and typography, Haute école des arts du Rhin, Mulhouse et Strasbourg (France) // Alan Marshall, printing historian (France) // May Tove Nyrud, subject specialist, Norsk Grafisk Museum, Stavanger (Norway) // Jean-Marc Providence, director of the Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie, Malesherbes (France) // Stefan Soltek, chair of the AEPM, Offenbach (Germany) // Michel Wlassikoff, graphic design historian, exhibition curator (France)
Jean-Paul Deschamps, typographer, formally of the Imprimerie nationale, Paris (France) // Drew Luan Matott, artist, director of the Peace Paper Project, New York (United States) and Hamburg (Germany) // Frédéric Tachot, , typographer, founder of Format typographique, Saran (France)
Thursday 5 May 2022
Arrival and registration at the Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie (A-Mi)
16:30 – 18:00
Visit to the Maury printing works in Manchecourt, specialised in industrial magazine production
18:30 – 20:00
Introduction to the A-Mi’s collections and exhibitions
A few words of welcome…
Jean-Paul Maury, co-founder with his wife Chantal of the Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie.
Jean-Marc Providence, director of the Museum.
20:00 – 22:00
Buffet dinner in the Museum’s events space
Friday 6 May 2022
Stefan Soltek is chair of the AEPM and former director of the Klingspor Museum, Offenbach, Germany.
9:10 – 09.35
Transmission and the risk of transdisciplinarity
Jean-Marc Providence will look at how printing museums call upon different disciplines – technical and industrial history, history of the graphic arts and communication, cultural history, social history, etc. – in addition to the history of printing, books, the press and the printed word. How do all these histories intertwine, how are they woven together? How do we play with the scale of the stories, from the micro-story to Big History? How do we combine historical panorama with microscopic detail? How can we integrate the dimension of know-how and practices? The example of the Musée-Atelier de l’imprimerie will provide examples of transdisciplinarity at work in the narration of time when writing the history of the futures of the past.
Jean-Marc Providence is the director of the Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie, Malesherbes, France. He has worked on the conception of several museums and exhibitions in France and abroad including French Pavillons in Lisbon, Hanover, Aichi, Zaragoza, the Science Adventure Parc in Belgium, and science museums in Caracas and Moscow. As the head of the exhibitions departement in the Cité des Sciences et de l’industrie he specialized in the realization of scientific and technical exhibitions, and was also at the origin of the creation of the COMPA – Conservatoire de l’Agriculture, Chartres, France. He has also taught cultural politics at the University of Orléans, and is member of the ‘Musée de France’ commission.
09:35 – 10.00
Blind spots or new perspectives?
People have been creating printing museums for over a hundred and fifty years—a process that accelerated sharply in the nineteen-sixties with the demise of letterpress printing and stone lithography, and with the creation of many other types of museum dedicated to graphic heritage. Despite this increasingly frenetic activity many aspects of graphic heritage have remained largely unexplored or have been studied in a fragmentary manner. To further complicate matters, printing has itself evolved considerably since the Second World War, to the point of calling into question the very notion of graphic production and the place of print within the ever-expanding and hegemonic communication industries of which it is now but one aspect. Today only a handful of museums have confronted the myriad questions raised by the irruption of electronics and digital technologies in the graphic industries since the nineteen-sixties. Few attempts have been made in museum narratives to take on and explore the extraordinary range of modes of production, distribution and consumption that now characterise graphic production. And few museum collections are broad enough to cover the full gamut of graphic production from the canon of ‘great design’ to the most modest everyday graphic objects. Blind spots or new perspectives?
Alan Marshall worked for twenty years in printing and publishing. In the course of preparing a doctoral thesis on early phototypesetting he began what turned out to be a long collaboration with the Museum of Printing in Lyons, which by the time he retired had become the Museum of Printing and Graphic Communication. He is a former chair of the AEPM and has written extensively on various aspects of nineteenth and twentieth century printing, graphic communication and graphic heritage.
10:00 – 10:30
10:30 – 11.00
May Tove Nyrud
Rethinking the Norwegian Printing Museum
The IDDIS museum facility opened in Stavanger the autumn of 2021 with new exhibitions for the Norwegian Printing Museum in a new building connected with the preexisting Norwegian Canning Museum, which also received a major makeover prior to opening. Together the two museums present the industrial past of printing and its relationship with the city’s brisling (small herring) canning industry.
May Tove Nyrud will look at the questions that arise when elaborating a narrative in association with another museum, when telling a story based on two complementary themes, local printing history and the canning industry, with their machines and products? How to present a subject that is not often dealt with and enhance the graphic aspect of the everyday printed products of a vital industry? How to redefine the museography, build a link between permanent and temporary exhibitions and approaches to mediation?
May Tove Nyrud is the Subject Specialist of the Norwegian Printing Museum since 2009, and has been the project manager of the new printing exhibitions in the IDDIS museum. Prior to obtaining a master’s degree in interdisciplinary cultural studies she worked as manager of the Gamvik Museum in Northern Norway and as adviser and collection manager in the Cultural History Department of Stavanger Museum.
11:00 – 12:00
Practical activities and discussion in the museum
Letterpress and heritage
Discussion/demonstration of hand typesetting and letterpress printing with a mediator from the museum or a member of the ARTEGRAF Association, or
Visit to the educational workshop (Atelier-école) with membres of the ARTEGRAF association.
Paper and its creative possibilities, step 1. Discussion/demonstration with Drew Matott
Drew Luan Matott is an activist artist-papermaker and directeur the Peace Paper Project, an international community arts initiative that uses traditional papermaking as a form of trauma therapy, social engagement, and community activism.
12:00 – 14:00
14:00 – 14:30
Graphic design history in museums
Calling on some remarkable historical examples, Michel Wlassikoff offers a reflection on the importance of graphic design in cultural institutions, from the principles of visual identity to exhibition itineraries: from Herbert Bayer’s precepts for the Werkbund exhibition in Paris in 1930, to the solutions of the Valence studio for the Dada retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 2004, via the work of Visuel design Jean Widmer for the Centre de création industrielle (CCI), the Centre Pompidou or the Musée d’Orsay.
Michel Wlassikoff is a graphic design historian and exhibition curator. He is the author of an authoritative French-language history of graphic design (Histoire du graphisme en France, Arts Décoratifs Ucad, 2021) and is currently collaborating with the Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie on the conception of its forthcoming exhibition devoted to the typographer-designer Marcel Jacno,.
14:30 – 15:00
Dr Dorothee Ader
Beyond the archive, or looking further than the tip of our nose
As a museum of modern and contemporary book and type art, the Klingspor Museum in Offenbach is primarily concerned with the products of printing from 1900 onwards. A print workshop expands the exhibition spaces, along with the surviving company archives of the type foundry Gebr. Klingspor (Offenbach) which forme an essential part of the collection. A lot of paper, which the museum staff carefully preserves, researches, exhibits and expands. Art historians, book scholars and librarians handle this collection on a daily basis in the museum. But how does the wider society actually benefit from these objects? What is the point, for example, of children and young people today dealing with outdated printing techniques or looking at book art? What can the objects contribute to the pressing questions of our time? Is it enough to name the cultural items as identity-forming objects or is it not necessary, rather, to constantly ensure that they be put to new uses and offer new modes of access over time?
The Klingspor Museum’s educational activities offer answers to these questions which are being tested in a practical context. In particular, a current project to digitise the type specimens and designs of the type foundry Gebr. Klingspor is trying its hand as a participatory design tool. And in the process it has raised many questions about the self-image of museum work. In her lecture, Dr. Dorothee Ader will take a look beyond the tip of her nose and open up possible perspectives on changing museum work.
Dr. Dorothee Ader was appointed as Director of the Klingspor Museum in Offenbach (Germany) in December 2021. In her studies of German literature and bibliography at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, she focused on medieval book production and wrote her doctoral thesis on a printed volume of ‘Tristrant’ from the 15th and 16th centuries. She grew into museum practice through her long-term experience in museum education for the Gutenberg Museum Mainz, the print shop there and the Nibelungen Museum Worms, among others. Since 2013, she has been working at the Klingspor Museum Offenbach as a curator and has taken care of exhibition practice and educational programmes. The museum as a social place is a central idea of her work at the Klingspor Museum.
15:00 – 15:30
16:00 – 16:30
Publishing the Imprimerie nationale
The Imprimerie Nationale, custodian of the heritage of French printing and of the works produced by the royal, imperial and finally national printers, has a centuries-old tradition of scientifically demanding but accessible publications of impeccable quality. The catalogue of today’s Arts du livre series follows this tradition and examines both the tradition and the contemporary nature of printed matter. Published and forthcoming titles deal with the history and practices of books and reading, the materiality of works and the culture of books in France and beyond, as well as the modes and actors of their production (authors, publishers, printers, typographers, graphic designers, etc.) and the heritage of books and printing. Olivier Deloignon takes a look at how a variety of publications tell a history of printing and how they combine to tell a multi-facetted story.
Olivier Deloignon has a doctorate in the history of art and typography, is a professor of history at the Ecole supérieure des arts décoratifs de Strasbourg, and is also a former typographer. He is the editor of the Imprimerie Nationale series published by Actes Sud.
Dinner at the Château d’Augerville
Saturday, 7 May 2022
09:00 – 10:15
Annual general meeting of the Association of European Printing Museums
Although the annual general meeting is, strictly speaking, reserved for AEPM members only, non-members are encouraged to attend (in a non voting capacity) as it offers an excellent occasion to discover the Association’s various activities and, why not, to become involved.
10:15 – 11:15
Short communications and news from member museums and closing discussion
- Pressemuseet Fjeld-Ljoms Venner, Norway (Jan Erik Øvergård)
- Cheong’ju Early Printing Museum, Cheong’ju, South Korea (Sonya Yang)
- Kunstprenteverket, Norway (Knut Ketil Oftedahl)
- Espace Européan Gutenberg, Strasbourg, France
- Maison de l’imprimerie de Rebais, France (Jacques Driot)
11:15 – 12:15
Workshops and thematic visits in the A-Mi
Discussion around demonstrations of the Linotype and Monotype
with Frédéric Tachot (founder of Format typpographique) and Jean-Paul Deschamps (former typesetter at the Imprimerie nationale).
Paper and its creative possibilities, step 2. Discussion/demonstration
With Drew Matott, activist artist-papermaker and directeur the Peace Paper Project, an international community arts initiative that uses traditional papermaking as a form of trauma therapy, social engagement, and community activism.
12:15 – 13:30
Buffet in the AM-i’s events area.
Visit to the heritage library of the Château de Fontainebleau
The collections of this prestigious library, which was set up at the instigation of Napoleon I, cover the sixteenth through to nineteenth century.