Update on the Virtual Museum of Printing (VMoP)

On 28 October 2020, the Printing Historical Society approved a proposal, presented by the National Printing Heritage Committee (NPHC), for a web-based virtual Virtual Museum of Printing (VMP).

The website has made good progress since and the first phase of the development will be live and visible to the public soon. The site will launch profiling eighteen museums in a visual and descriptive Directory. Each museum has its own page which contains brief details about the organisation, a list of its collection highlights, images, links and contact details. The website also provides an area for extended Case Studies which affords far greater detail than that contained in the Directory: the site will launch with a case study of Winterbourne Press, Birmingham.

The purpose of the first phase of the VMoP website is that it will be used as a marketing tool to gauge and garner interest in the project among printing museums, their visitors and academics, and to encourage further contributions. It will also be used as part of VMoP’s fund-raising strategy to enable the second phase of its development. It is important to note that phase one of the site is static, while phase two aims to contain films and interactive media.

That there seems to be an appetite for the project among heritage professionals was confirmed at a recent workshop at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, where the website and the project were showcased to fifteen regional curators, all of whom were positive about the benefits and the potential for improved connections, knowledge transfer and training opportunities. Most importantly, museum visitors will be able to engage with many printing-related collections, including some which are wholly or partly inaccessible physically.

Caroline Archer