The Norwegian Printing Museum’s new exhibitions are being developed in relation to four main concepts: the written word, the printed word, the printed image and from paper to screen-based media in combination with our digital age. Each concept contains several historical and contemporary ideas and themes. Although the exhibitions will have a national and international profile, they will be rooted in local history, newspapers, printers, publishers and their specialities, as well as local trade associations.
The written word has a history stretching back to the world’s earliest written languages. The story we want to tell involves showing the development of writing and its social significance, from the ancient past to our own era with digital tablets and other mobile platforms for writing.
The printed word relates to Johann Gutenberg’s innovation of movable type in the 1400s and its significance for the ensuing centuries. We will look at the technological development of various printing techniques and machines, also the new crafts and occupations that emerged with them. We will tell the story of how the art of printing has spread knowledge and played a role in the development of democracy and freedom of speech – these are burning issues also in today’s society. We will also look at fonts and typography and the diversity of printed matter and visual expressions that were developed and produced with these.
The printed image concerns the production and reproduction of images, not only of printed pictures but also of paintings and photos. The concept covers everything from techniques for fine art printing to reproduction techniques, the history of photography, clichés for reproduction in black/white nuances, and lithography and offset techniques for printing sardine can labels in Stavanger.
With the concept from paper to screen-based media, the Norwegian Printing Museum enunciates its aim of being a media museum. We will tell the story of technological development, of how lead type disappears, how phototypesetting and computers take over, and of how printed media become screen-based and available on diverse mobile platforms. We will examine what our digital age involves for all who live in it.
Text: May Tove Nyrud