The Gutenberg Museum
Gutenberg-Museum: A treasury of books, printing, and script history
Experience the history of writing, books and printing "live": In the center of Mainz's old town, opposite the cathedral, stands one of the oldest printing museums in the world. The World Museum of Letterpress Printing is dedicated to the "Man of the Millennium" Johannes Gutenberg and his inventions, whose global impact up to the present day is also made clear in special exhibitions. The renowned special museum was founded in 1900 by citizens of Mainz on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Johannes Gutenberg's birth to honour the inventor of printing with movable types and to exhibit, preserve and communicate his technical and artistic inventions. Around 160,000 visitors from all over the world take up this offer every year. Medieval manuscripts, incunabula and historic prints, graphic reproductions, typesetting machines and printing presses are presented in an exhibition area of around 3,000 square metres, through to modern book culture, children's books, miniature books, luxury papers and binding art.
Among the museum's greatest treasures are two original Gutenberg Bibles from the mid-15th century. The Gutenberg workshop with its replica Gutenberg press is also one of the main attractions. Here, almost hourly demonstrations are given of how printing was done in Gutenberg's day. A modern film, which can be screened in seven languages, introduces visitors to Gutenberg's life and work. With the audio guide, visitors can go on various tours through the museum and learn about its highlights in German, English, French and Korean. Five "extra tours" lead through the following departments: Book before Gutenberg, Early Printing after Gutenberg, Paper and Bookbinding, East Asia, Islamic Book Culture.
Find out more about the Gutenberg Museum here.
The Print Shop (Druckladen)
The Gutenberg Museum in Mainz offers numerous educational museum formats and events for young and old, a wide variety of workshops and special guided tours through permanent exhibitions as well as changing special exhibitions. In open workshop areas, individual visitors, small groups, or school classes can learn about the history of writing, printing, and printing techniques, as well as diverse aspects of cultural and art history.
The print shop and the workshops in the museum offer a unique opportunity for visitors to become active themselves, to learn a variety of book-related craft techniques under expert guidance, or to find their own forms and ways of artistic expression. Special events regularly supplement the museum's basic educational programme: for example, family days are held on weekends with events specially tailored to young families. Senior citizens are addressed just as much as curious beginners and advanced students who want to gain their own experience of the content taught at the Gutenberg Museum in weekend and vacation workshops on paper making, book printing and book binding, and graphic techniques.
The Gutenberg Museum of the future
It is vital for the future and for the new Gutenberg Museum to bring our exhibits into the 21st century. This means explaining, with the help of exciting and interactive displays, that the media revolution of our day and age is based on the change in media triggered by Gutenberg in Mainz in the 15th century. A bridge is to be built between the unique historic items on show at the museum and our new medial age.
From handwritten papyrus to the e-book, from the Liber chronicarum of the 15th century to Wikipedia, the world museum of printing is to become a place of exciting cultural exchange which explores new avenues, forges links between different topics and makes connections between the past and the present.
Find out more about the plans for the new Gutenberg Museum at gutenberg.de.
International standing versus lack of funding
The Gutenberg Foundation has made it its objective to support the museum on its way to a new future. Help us by making a donation or becoming a member of the Friends of Gutenberg. Even the smallest amount is part of something much bigger that helps us to create the new Gutenberg Museum.