The Museum Press is one of the most completely equipped letterpress shops in the Northeast, with presses manufactured over a hundred-year period, from 1835 to 1953. Indeed, it has become a museum within the museum. The shop was organized in the 1980s by the late William Brady Washburn. Washburn collected so many letterpresses and other equipment that the museum trustees decided that the shop should have its own building. The present Museum Press curator, Ed Shunney, and volunteer Lou Perotta are continuing the Washburn tradition. Important pieces acquired by Shunney include an Adams “Acorn” press and a Heidelberg. Shunney also has made sure that each piece of equipment –- no matter how venerable — is in perfect working order.
In addition to the Acorn and Heidelberg, the shop boasts a Linotype, a Ludlow with several drawers of type, a Vandercook proof press, several hand presses, a very large paper cutter and a variety of other tools of the trade. While the Museum Press does not take on commercial jobs, it does fulfills SCM’s need for flyers, posters, business cards and other such items. The special look of products produced on letterpress machines makes it a great option for couples looking to print their own wedding invitations! Private letterpress lessons can be scheduled year-round, cost is $90 for 2 people for 3 hours. Letterpress workshops [link to events] are also offered in the summer.