Primary School Tours in Dublin

Book an exciting and engaging visit for your class to the National Print Museum!

The National Print Museum offers an educational, interactive and activity-based guided tour specifically designed for Primary School children.

  • Your class will travel back in time to experience what it was like to be a young apprentice printer by exploring the National Print Museum’s Print Shop style layout – the composing area, printing area and finishing area.
  • Children learn all about Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, and how newspapers, books and posters were created before the arrival of today’s computers.
  • Working directly with artifacts from the Museum’s collection, children learn about a selection of the traditional printing machines, hand-set and print their own poster, and make and decorate their very own printer’s hat!
  • Your group can test their knowledge back in the classroom with the activities and quizzes in our Primary School Teacher’s Fact and Activity Pack.

Primary School Tour and Learning Outcomes

The National Print Museum’s Primary School guided tour is suitable for 2nd – 6th class pupils. The tour is cross-curricular in nature and interprets a number of strands within the Primary School History, Visual Arts, Science and English curricula. Upon arrival at the Museum, your class will be divided into three groups. Each group will then rotate through three activities, with each activity lasting 30 minutes (total 90 minutes for entire tour).

Activity 1: Tour of Printing Machines & Finishing Area 
During this hands-on and engaging tour, children learn about a selection of the traditional printing machines in the Museum’s collection including the Wooden Press, Columbian Press, Wharfedale Stop-Cylinder Press and Platen Presses. Children view an original copy of the 1916 Proclamation and help their guide to explore and spot the printing errors throughout.  The tour closes in the Finishing Area, where children are invited to interact with the traditional perforating and hole-punching machines.

Activity 2: Hand composing & Poster Printing
During this activity, children learn about Johannes Gutenberg and his invention of movable type. They learn about aspects of the traditional composing of text for printing (the case-room, composing stick, movable type, uppercase and lower case, inking up, the proofing press etc.). Each child is then invited to hand-compose their names and insert them into a ‘forme’ in order to print their own ‘Wanted’ poster.

Activity 3: Printer’s Hat-making
A printer’s hat was one of the first things an apprentice printer learned to make. During this activity, children learn to make a similar hat using the traditional Japanese paper craft of origami. Once the hat is complete, children decorate and personalise their hat using traditional wooden ink stampers.

A group of primary school students gather around a display of an original Proclamation
A child smiles as they see their name printed on a poster at the Museum.
A child wears a paper printer's hat

How to Book and Ticket Price

The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and the cost is €3 per student, with teachers free.

Students use wood type to compose words

Primary School Project with Mná 100

To mark the centenary on 16th June of the ‘Pact Election’ of 1922, the National Print Museum partnered with Mná 100 to run this innovative pilot printing workshop. Leading up to the election, on 20th May 1922, a last minute electoral pact was signed. This proposed a national coalition panel for the third Dáil Éireann, composed of Pro and Anti-Treaty TDs. Women who stood for election on 16th June were Kathleen Clarke, Margaret Pearse, Dr Ada English and Constance de Markievicz, Mary MacSwiney and Kate O’Callaghan. Mary MacSwiney and Kate O’Callaghan were returned.

Using letterpress, the same method that was available over 100 years ago, the students worked in small groups, using their own words, to create their own election slogans. They focused on the two successful women candidates, Mary MacSwiney and Kate O’Callaghan. They discovered the importance of words using this historic method.

Additional workshops followed in December 2022, May 2023, and more are in development.

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