Chapter 98- Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum (Travel Edition)

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St. Nick brought a toy for the kids, and a Jack White LP for Theo, but I made out on top this year.  Yesterday, I drove up to Two Rivers and attended a workshop at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.  If you don’t read anything else in this post, just know that you should go there and get a tour of the museum.  My mind was blown by the history of print.  In a few words: the collection they have is expansive, the process was revolutionary in its day, machines were complex beyond my own comprehension, artists perform a deliberate craft, and the museum is doing an amazing job of preserving the history.

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Assistant Director Stephanie Carpenter gave us a tour of the building, and imparted such an incredible amount of interesting knowledge to me and the other 8 workshop participants.  I can’t summarize all the information about how the wood type is made, but there are so many steps and machines which I’d never heard of before.  Read this to learn about the manufacturers, the pantograph (which people are still using in the facility!) the history, and more.  Also watch this short video to get a feel for the people and the passion at the museum.  They even have a few Linotype machines in the building.

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The museum used to be in the Hamilton factory, just up the road, but re-opened in its current location just over a year ago.  The space is open and well-maintained, with a large amount of machines, wood type, and posters to view.  Also, the museum shop has LOTS Of beautiful prints, posters, cards, clothes and other gifts to browse.

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Stephanie told us a story behind this poster of the Lushootseed alphabet.  I might botch it, but at one point in the state of Washington, the Tulalip Tribe only had two native speakers of their language.  In language camp, wood type was used to help people learn the language through a tactile way, hopefully enhancing the learning process.

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Posters line lots of the walls, and this one reminded me of the John Prine song “Angel from Montgomery”.

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Jim Moran, Museum Director, joined us in the workshop to show us the steps of printing.  I absolutely love the process.  It requires planning, paying attention, keeping your station neat, and being ok with making mistakes.  We had access to pieces of type that were over 100 years old, so we understood the importance of taking care of the equipment.

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I had grand plans to make our holiday cards, but found posters much more inspiring and fun to create.  I messed up a whole lot, and didn’t have time to look through all the (millions of pieces of ) wood type, but came away with a greater knowledge AND desire to come back!

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I also made a poster for my dear friend Nancy’s husband’s band, ROM.  There, Nan.  I blew the secret.  This should be in your mailbox soon!

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A lovely lady named Carol did this poster pictured below.  You can see in the above photo where she’s locking up the stars to lay over the “joy” and “peace” she’d already printed.  A great end product!

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The guys at ArcInt Architecture and I swapped posters, which was one of the highlights for me.  The setup of the workshop facilitated working on your own (which is awesome because even though I love being around people, I also love to be alone) with the opportunity to connect with other people with similar interests.  As it turns out, I’m neighbors with one of the architects, and their office is near the Menominee Valley Branch of the Urban Ecology Center, which I’ve been meaning to visit since it opened.

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In all, it was a wonderful day.  Totally worth the drive from Milwaukee, and I’d recommend taking a trip to anyone.  I’d also suggest getting a tour, because the vast amount of history that the museum is preserving is simply fascinating.  It really makes me think about the change our world has seen, even in the past 100 years.

And one of the best parts of my day…I got 3 hours in a car by myself.  Without the Frozen soundtrack playing, or kids fighting, or anyone screaming because their sock is on the wrong way/their pants won’t tuck into their boots correctly/their seatbelt JUST IS NOT COMFABLE.

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Just me and my thoughts.  Oh, and the view in Two Rivers/Manitowoc is incredible.

Peace to everyone,

A. Storm

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  1. Mom says:

    Your best ever and you are the best and most talented youngest daughter ever!

    Reply

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