Blueprint for the new British Museum of Printing

An exciting addition to the European printing heritage scene

In October 2020 the Printing Historical Society (PHS) approved a proposal, presented by the National Printing Heritage Committee (NPHC), for a web-based ‘virtual’ British Printing Museum. The objective of the museum will be ‘to bring as much of the nation’s printing-historical resources as possible together on one virtual collective museum site’. The site will be a platform for print historians, practitioners and heritage professionals across the nation to contribute data, images, video and narrative relating to their collections.

This concept, developed by Lee Hale, is entirely new and will allow for improved connections, knowledge transfer and potential training opportunities. Most importantly, ‘museum’ visitors will engage not just with one virtual museum, but with a range of physical collections from all over the country, many of which would otherwise be inaccessible.

The museum site will be a project of the National Printing Heritage Committee, owned and operated by the Printing Historical Society, with the Centre for Printing History and Culture (CPHC) on the masthead as an official ‘Founding Sponsor’. The website will be developed and managed by the Museum Steering Group: Lee Hale (Chair), Head ofWinterbourne House Museum, University of Birmingham; Dr Paul Nash, bibliographer, printing historian and editor of the PHS Journal; Dr Rachel Stenner, Lecturer and Director of the Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies, University of Sussex; Georgina Grant, Senior Curator, Ironbridge Museums Trust; and HollyTrant, Assistant Librarian, Archives and Local Studies, Bath Record Office. Ex-officio members are Dr John Hinks, Chair of the NPHC, and Dr Caroline Archer, representing the CPHC.

During the last quarter of 2020 the steering group raised the funds for Phase 1 of the project from a combination of grant funding, private and corporate donations, which enabled them to engage the services of website design company Heritage Creative to begin the process of creating the site. In the next few months, the steering group will kick off fundraising efforts to raise the £12,000 needed to complete Phase 2, which will enable the site to go live.

The steering group is now collecting the names of individuals and organisations who would like to become site contributors, donors and sponsors, as well as names of individuals and/or organisations that have a general interest in the project. There are many opportunities to become involved and help promote this exciting new PHS initiative. For more information about the British Museum of Printing project or, indeed, to discuss becoming a donor or sponsor, please get in touch with the NPHC Secretary at

[From Printing History News, n° 69, Winter 2020/21.]