Cincinnati Print and Type Museum - By Tom Connor, October 2022

You may or may not have heard of the Cincinnati Print and Type Museum in Lower Price Hill. Gary Walton is the founder and director of the museum that he founded to continue to advocate for the printing industry and share its history. The museum is located at 2307 West Eighth Street, the former location of the William Hillenbrand Co., plumbing, one of the largest plumbing companies in the state in the early part of the 20th century.  Gary is Professor Emeritus, Cincinnati State College where he trained over 3,400 graphic communications students and he has consulted and trained printers in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and other parts of the country.

Gary says he fell in love with printing in 1968 after one semester of printing basic at Schwab Middle School in Northside. Originally trained as an offset press instructor, he has trained himself in the art of color separation, pre-press, advance color printing, digital color printing, and is now sought for his print media expertise.

In 2021, Gary teamed up with BLOC Ministries to develop the idea of a job-training center using historic printing equipment. This idea eventually became the Cincinnati Type & Print Museum and BLOC Ministries purchased the property the following year. In November of 2016, the Grand Opening of the museum was a huge success with more than 75 people attended, including then Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.

After the Cincinnati City Council allotted funds to build a second building next to the existing building, more than 60 people attended the Second Grand Opening in August of 2018. This second building’s concrete base can hold the weight of heavier presses and facilitate an expanded job training program.

Jacob Simpson, the Assistant Director and Curator, came on board at the museum in February of 2020. After receiving a degree in history from North Carolina State University, he worked for multiple museums and historic sites in North Carolina and Tennessee before moving to Cincinnati in the fall of 2019. He is responsible for maintaining the museum's collection, keeping the historic printing equipment in working order, developing exhibits and educational programming, and leading ongoing research projects.

The museum has a large collection of presses and other printing equipment. The oldest piece of painting equipment is a Franklin Type Foundry Iron Hand Press ca. 1800s. It also has over 350 drawers of foundry type, 40 cases of wood type, numerous "cuts" and printing plates, as well as a library and archival collection dating back to the late 1700s.  The museum has a wide variety of books on almost any topic related to printing. Books can be viewed by appointment, but all items must remain in the building.

Gary is genuinely concerned about the progress of print media education in the printing industry and the growth of the printing industry here in Greater Cincinnati. He founded the Cincinnati Type & print Museum to continue to advocate for the printing industry and share its history. The museum plans to add over 2,600 square feet of space for both exhibits and job training with construction starting in 2022. Unfortunately, the front of the building was heavily damaged when hit by a car in the summer of this year and had to undergo considerable repairs. Interestingly, in 1932 a large truck crashed into the building also causing it damage. This building was also a center of political activity in the 1930s.

On June 2, 2019, the museum helped the Cincinnati Reds celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 1919 World Series. Museum staff and volunteers took a 7x11 Chandler & Price printing press to Great American Ball Park and handed out close to 25,000 replica 1919 World Series tickets.

This summer I visited the museum and after Gary gave me a tour, I was able to print a card on one of the old presses. The collection that the museum has gathered it very impressive and there are more presses in storage waiting on repairs to the damaged building and further expansion of the museum. Gary is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the museum and the work it is doing educating and training people in the art of printing.

There is no admission cost to visit the museum, which is open by appointment Monday through Saturday. You will get a hands-on look at the history of printing in the Greater Cincinnati Area and will have the chance to put ink on paper yourself.

If you are interested in visiting the museum, it can be reached at (513) 914-5722 or Gary and Jacob with greet you there with a smile on their faces and ink on their hands

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