Bowne Workshops

Bowne Printers Workshops | Learn Letterpress Printing

Printing Workshops | Click here for our workshop calendar

Our printing workshops at the Bowne & Co., Printing Offices teach the traditional methods of hand-set type and use our working collection of historic presses. Once used for documenting marine trade, we now use them for contemporary projects.

Current Schedule

Bowne & Co., Printing Offices are open late on the last Wednesday of each month for Fresh Prints: a printing open house showcasing multiple styles of printing press in the collection. Our team of designers and printers speak about the history of printing and explain why the Seaport neighborhood became a printing district. Participants have the opportunity to pull prints of their own and take home a few printed pieces from the night.

In addition, we offer private classes which you can schedule for your own group or class.
For more information or to schedule a class, please call (646)-628-2707 or email

Ongoing Programs

Using objects and equipment from the Museum’s working collection, the printers at Bowne & Co. will take you through the history of printing from Gutenberg to the New York Times. We will demonstrate on several presses and discuss the history of typography and printing, with an emphasis on the local New York context. Everybody will get a printed keepsake and a chance to pull a print on one of our presses.

Group size: groups of up to 25 participants
Price: $200/group; non-refundable deposit required: $50

In this workshop our staff will teach you the basics of carving and printing linoleum blocks. Arrive with a few ideas for images and you’ll learn how to transfer and carve your design into linoleum. After designs are carved we’ll try out inking and printing by hand. At the end of the class we’ll print our final blocks on our Vandercook cylinder proof press. Each participant will go home with their block, individual prints, and one broadside featuring the class’s prints.

Class size: groups of up to 6 participants
Price: $200 per group, plus $50/participant for materials; non-refundable deposit required: $50

A broadside is a large sheet of paper printed on one side to create a poster. Historically, this format was used by political campaigns, circuses, shipping lines, and any other person or group that needed to make a proclamation or advertisement. Today, the broadside has become popular among poets, typographers, and artists as an art form that is collectible, easy to frame, and sometimes printed in a limited edition. In this 3-hour workshop the class will collaborate on designing and printing a broadside poster from moveable wood type. Bowne Printers will curate a sampling of wood type from the Museum’s collection of over 100 fonts. After a brief introduction to the history and process of printing from handset type, students will have the chance to select type and spell out a word or phrase that fits into a specific line length. These phrases/words will be locked up on our Vandercook cylinder proof press. We’ll learn about inking, registration, proofing, make-ready, and the physical origins of leading and character spacing. After the necessary corrections, everyone will get a chance to pull a final print. Each student will go home with 3 copies of the group’s poster. Because of the collaborative nature of this workshop we recommend it to groups of friends!
All materials supplied.

Class size: groups of up to 25 participants
Price: $200 per group, plus $50/participant for materials; non-refundable deposit required: $50

This three hour workshop introduces participants to typesetting and letterpress printing small runs of custom work. Students choose from a selection of the Museum’s vintage lead type to design their own personalized stationery. Our team of printers guides participants through the process of setting type, proofing on our Vandercook cylinder press, fine-tuning designs, and printing a final run on our 19th century tabletop platen press. Participants learn how to operate the presses themselves, and each person goes home with twenty-five personal stationery items.

Class size: groups of up to 6 participants
Price: $200 per group, plus $35/participant for materials; non-refundable deposit required: $50

– Members enjoy exclusive discounts on all the Museum’s programs. Not a member? JOIN NOW!

– All workshops are adaptable for private parties, school programs, team building, adult special interest clubs, and professional development for teachers. Advance reservations are required. For a list of additional group programs, click here.

Workshop Policies:

  • While non-refundable deposits are required to secure your spot, in the event that the workshop does not run, all deposits will be refunded.
  • Workshop instruction is very time-sensitive. Each session begins with safety instructions; participants who arrive late and miss the instructions will not be permitted to participate.
  • Please wear closed-toed shoes.

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