Four thousand years of the history of the culture of writing from all over the world are to be met with in the Gutenberg Museum. Of course, Johannes Gutenberg from Mainz plays a leading role in this. About 550 years ago he invented printing with type made using a casting device and the printing press, thus revolutionising the world. How that was done can be experienced in the Gutenberg Museum – for example in his reconstructed workshop. With a large number of typographic implements, old presses and typesetting machines, the history of letterpress printing comes to life. The main focus of the permanent exhibition are important printed works from the 15th century to the present. At the centre of attention are two copies of the world-famous 42-line Gutenberg Bible which are to on show in the strong-room.
World Museum of the Art of Printing
Examples of European printing culture are displayed spaciously; apart from books and broadsheets, also job-works, posters, ex-libris book-plates and much else. Typographic techniques, the manufacture of paper and how a book-binding is produced are explained. However, being the “World Museum of the Art of Printing” the Gutenberg Museum also shows the early history of printing in Eastern Asia (since the 8th century) and writing and printing in Islamic countries. A manuscripts department explains the development of writing from cuneiform script to the modern alphabet. Many of these fields are presented and explained in practice again and again in the Museum.
The Gutenberg Museum’s Print Shop
The Print Shop, as a living workshop, has been the best known facet of the Gutenberg Museum’s educational programme for more than 20 years. In the group programme which takes all age groups into account, from schoolchildren to senior citizens, an introduction to the principle of letterpress printing is given. By means of a facsimile block from the Gutenberg Bible, the principle of Gutenberg’s printing and the rudiments of manual typesetting can be reconstructed using one’s own hands with the help of printing blocks with the most varied motifs and wood type characters. In the composing workshop, greatly varying printed products are prepared by means of manual setting. Numerous workshops, campaigns accompanying exhibitions, presentations and offers by the educational workshops in the museum round off the programme.
The “Roman Emperor”
Nowadays the museum is accommodated in the old “house at the sign of the Roman Emperor” and in a new building dating from the nineteen sixties located behind it. The historical building was constructed for the great merchant Edmund Rokoch in the second half of the 17th century. The late Renaissance building with its elaborate façade was the most richly decorated burgess’s house in the city and the model for later noblemen’s palaces. The new building, planned by Rainer Schell from Wiesbaden, was modernised for the Museum’s centenary in 2000 and connected by a steel-and-glass bridge to the new extension designed by the architects Rossmann and Partners.
The Museum App
Since recently the Gutenberg Museum has been offering a further, innovative service for its visitors: A museum app for iPhone – with information for visitors, interactive room plans, an audio guide and many further functions. The Gutenberg Museum has thus joined the ranks of major German museums which have also introduced museum apps: the ZKM in Karlsruhe, the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg or the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
You will find further information on the inventor of printing and the history of printing by means of the new museum app as well as at the Internet web site www.gutenberg.de
Information for visitors
Dienstag bis Samstag: 9 bis 17 Uhr
Sonntag: 11 bis 17 Uhr
Montags und an gesetzlichen Feiertagen geschlossen.
Bitte beachten Sie Sonderöffnungszeiten ggf. auf der Website der Einrichtung.
Alle Stockwerke des Museums sind mit dem Aufzug erreichbar.
All floors of the Museum can be reached by lift.
Tous les étages du musée sont accessibles par un ascenseur.