The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum needs your help


A couple of days ago I was reading, as usual, the Type News column on Typedia’s blog, and towards the end of the January 19 entry, I noticed this bit of news: The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum has until January 31 to raise $250,000 to fund a move to a new facility. Help them reach their goal!

My current location prevents me from giving them a hand with the move, and unfortunately my current financial situation prevents me from sending them any decent amount of money. But I thought that the least I could do as a typography enthusiast was to spread the word about the Museum’s situation.

What’s the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum?

From its About page:

The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. With 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns, Hamilton’s collection is one of the premier wood type collections in the world. In addition to wood type, the Museum is home to an amazing array of advertising cuts from the 1930s through the 1970s, and all of the equipment necessary to make wood type and print with it, as well as equipment used in the production of hot metal type, tools of the craft and rare type specimen catalogs.


The Museum, at 40,000 square feet, is no doubt one of the largest fully functional workshops in the world. Not only do the thousands of visitors who come through every year get to see how wood type was made at the foundry, students, artists, typographers and designers visit to take workshops and actually put their hands on and use the collection to create works of art and scholarship in our pressroom at the Museum. To be able to use the type and cuts and a press to make a print can broaden a design student’s understanding of typography and color and layout, and artists make work with wood type that would have surprised and delighted Ed Hamilton, the company’s founder.

What’s happening now?

From the Museum’s press release:

Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum will no longer reside in the building that bears its name. The property owners recently informed the museum that the 1619 Jefferson St. building in Two Rivers, Wisconsin will close and must be vacated, perhaps as early as February 2013.

Hamilton Wood Type is urgently seeking donations to address this sudden need and to protect its vast collection of wood type, antique printing equipment and rare type specimen catalogs. The museum’s director Jim Moran, artistic director Bill Moran and assistant director Stephanie Carpenter remain committed to transitioning to a new space.

We are definitely moving and will be staying in Two Rivers,” says Jim Moran. “Unfortunately, the hopes of staying in the Hamilton building are not an option. It will be an important break in continuity for Hamilton as a manufacturer going back to 1880. However, this is an opportunity to find a location where we can better protect, preserve, organize and demonstrate this enormous and valuable collection.”

Moran estimates it will require at least $250,000 and an army of volunteers to physically move the millions of pieces of type, plates, presses, tools and raw materials. He adds, “We are humbly, but aggressively asking for cash donations.”

Please consider a donation

You can find more information on the Museum’s Donate page. I’ve set up a little reminder, always visible in the footer of each page of my website, that will stay online until next January 31. If you love typography and have the money and/or the means to help these people, please do. At the very least, keep spreading the word. Thank you.

The Author

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