Bonnie Petrie

What to Do in Houston: Print Lives at the Museum of Printing History

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Museum of Printing History

Museum visitor Pedro Garcia, of Houston, learns more about Benjamin Franklin’s contributions to journalism and the printed word at the Museum of Printing History, in Houston. (Credit: Brandon De Hoyos/NEWS 92 FM)

Despite conventional wisdom, print is not dead. According to Nielsen Bookscan, 2012 book sales declined only nine percent, identical to the previous two years, in spite of growing e-reader and tablet sales.

The Museum of Printing History, however, has been displaying the power of print for Houstonians and worldwide visitors since 1982 in hopes of preserving the past while pointing to the future.

A free, self-guided tour of the museum boasts an exciting opportunity to see how printing developed over the years around the world, from the early days of quill and papyrus, to the enhanced book binding and digital printing we know today.

Witness the American Revolution through the newspaper of Benjamin Franklin in the George and Barbara Bush Americana Gallery, and watch as Texas history comes alive through the printed word of the struggles for our state’s independence.

A terrific venue for journalists, readers and anybody whose ever wondered how written communication took shape in America and across the globe. Also makes a great school field trip.

The Museum of Printing History is open every Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed on holidays. It is located at 1324 West Clay St., in Montrose. Convenient parking is located across the street from the museum.

Admission is free for self-guided tours. Guided tours are available with reservations at 713-522-4652. Guided tour costs are $3 per student, $7 for adults, and $5 for seniors. At least one adult must accompany every ten children.

What Not to Miss

  • The Rosetta StoneCheck out this facsimile of the actual Rosetta Stone, presented by the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences to the Museum of Printing History. It is a fascinating piece.
  • The Hearst Newspaper Gallery: See how newspapers were printed at the turn of the century until now with this collection of amazing printing presses.
  • George & Barbara Bush Americana Gallery: America independence comes to life as you explore documents and newspapers from the nation’s founding and rich history.

Find More: What to Do in Houston

Visitor’s Tips

  • Bring your walking shoes: This exhibition of print technology and artifacts can keep you on your feet for awhile.
  • Leave small children at home: This is a trip worth taking with students old enough to know not to touch the relics of printing past.
  • Don’t fear the dark: In an effort to save energy, some museum corridors are outfitted with sensor-enabled lights which turn on when someone enters. Don’t worry, those exhibits are still open.

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