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In Which Letterpress Prints Help to Save Hamilton Wood Type Museum

Wisconsin’s Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production, and printing of wood type. Admission is free, thanks in part to the all-volunteer staff, and the collection includes 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns. In addition to a 145-foot wall of wood type–the world’s largest–the museum even has its own Matthew Carter-designed typeface, Carter Latin Wide. “I’m not a printer, least of all a letterpress printer,” the famed typographer has said of first foray into wood type. “But I tried to think like one and imagine a typeface that allowed me to print something in a way that I could not otherwise do.”

The museum recently moved into a new home in Two Rivers, and the race is on to reopening day, planned for this summer. According to director Jim Moran, Hamilton desperately needs funding–and an army of volunteers–to physically move millions of pieces of type, plates, presses, tools, and raw materials. Enter letterpress-loving Neenah Paper, which has launched a “Help Save Hamilton” campaign that will donate to the museum all money raised from a series of limited-edition prints. First up is “Form & Function” (above), designed by Two Paperdolls. “I scanned the back of some wood type to achieve an authentic texture,” says Jennifer James of the Philadelphia-based studio, “and adorned the letterforms with ornaments you might find in an ‘old school’ letterpress shop.”

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