Lab #10: Museum of Printing 1

This lab report is deceptively simple: what insights did your experiences at the Museum of Printing (including learning about printing history, setting type, sorting type, and printing a small job) give you into the concepts or texts of our course thus far? You might think of our in-class readings or some of the archival materials we’ve worked with. As you draft your report, keep these guidelines in mind:

  1. Be specific!

    It’s not enough to say “I realized how long it took to set type for a book.” You already (at least kind of) knew that and, to be fair, it takes us a lot longer than it would have taken an experienced compositor. Instead of making big and general claims, then, I want you to use your brief experience working in a print shop to think about very small details of printing and compositing work. What is apparent to you now that wasn’t before this trip, and how might those details help you (re)consider class concepts and/or texts? Pay attention to the small things‐in fact, those little details are likely more interesting than broad claims.

  2. Focus on Analysis

    I’m of course thrilled to hear if you had fun at the Museum—but I prefer to hear that in person, not in your report. Whether you enjoyed yourself or not, keep your report focused on what you learned about media and book history.

  3. Think Materially

    We’ve talked a lot about type and print technologies this semester; you’ve even seen a fair number of printing supplies. But I wanted you to come to the Museum of Printing because it’s a very different thing to actually use printing materials: to feel the weight of the composed page, or the resistance of the printer lever. This trip is about understanding the materials that underlay books in a deeper way than is possible from simple discussion, so keep your report centered on those material realities.

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