Making our Impression


The National Print Museum’s mission is to promote a greater understanding of the historical significance and the contemporary relevance of printing in Ireland by exploring its heritage, craft and technology.

It is a unique museum – the only one of its kind in Ireland. The collection is made up largely of letterpress printing equipment. Letterpress is a form of relief printing, which was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439. The invention is one of the greatest known to mankind. It was the chief manner of printing which prevailed for over 500 years before becoming obsolete, in the commercial sense, in the mid-twentieth century.

The main collection is not behind glass or rope, but is instead an example of a working collection. The collection consists of fully-operational letterpress printing equipment, displayed and organised like a traditional 1960s print-shop. The panel of retired printers and compositors, who founded the Museum continue to play an integral role in preserving the collection and craft. A major challenge is preserving their knowledge and skills, and passing these on to future generations.

As set out in the Museum’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021, one of the key strategic aims is the preservation of the craft of letterpress printing. The panel of retired printers and compositors range in age from 70 to 85 and the need to develop a plan to preserve their skills is vital.

Training Project

In 2018, the Museum was successful in securing funding from Creative Ireland – National Creativity Fund, Aviva Stadium Community Fund and the Wild Apple Press for a hugely significant project entitled “Making our Impression” Skills Transfer Programme.

The project facilitates the transfer of skills from one generation to another, who then in turn will pass these newly acquired skills on to the next generation through a specifically designed education programme. This will allow every person in Ireland the opportunity to realise their creative potential through the medium of print.

“Making our impression” is an innovative project that aims to include the widest audience possible in the preservation of the nation’s printing heritage. The Museum’s panel of retired printers and compositors will share their specialist knowledge and skills with an identified group of younger generation designers and printers, who in turn will commit to passing on the craft.

Call for Participants

The Museum now calls for interested training programme participants. Ideal candidates will have a background in print or design, interest in letterpress, basic letterpress skills and enthusiasm in keeping the craft alive.

What to expect from the training programme:

– Training in a selection of machines in the Museum’s collection by highly skilled operators

– A comprehensive training manual

– An opportunity to contribute to the preservation of the nation’s printing heritage

– Ongoing involvement in the Museum’s public programming

– Access to the Museum’s collection for personal projects (with prior agreement)

– The programme is fully funded and no cost applies

What will be expected of the participants?

– Enthusiasm for the preservation of the craft of letterpress

– Attendance at the majority, if not all, of the training events

– Commitment to the project and beyond

– An interest in working with the public and taking part in the education programme (e.g. demonstration days)

– Self-motivation to develop their skills on the machines

– Participants will need to be Garda vetted as part of their involvement in the education programme


The training programme will be divided into Level One, printing practice and Level Two.

Level One: Composition and an introduction to a number of printing presses and hot metal casting. This could include the Peerless Treadle, Vandercook proofing press, Shaw Pen Rule and the Ludlow. 4 days over 3 weekends. (Full weekend to start).

Printing Days: A valuable time for participants to practice their new skills under guidance from the Museum’s skilled printers and compositors. 4 days over 4 weekends.

Level Two: Option to apply for more advanced training in the Heidelberg Platen and/or Linotype. This would take place over a suggested 4 days over 4 weekends, dates yet to be confirmed.

The training programme will consist of a commitment of 8 days over 7 weekends this spring. Assessments after each level will be necessary, exact dates will be arranged with the individual participant. Interviews will be arranged thereafter.

Interested parties are invited to apply to take part in the training programme. Please complete the Application Form and submit to by noon on Wednesday 6 February 2019.

All personal data will be held in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations.

For more information on National Creativity Fund, see

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