Get Hands-On at the Seaport Museum
The South Street Seaport Museum celebrates the community and economy that grew up around the shipping industry. Central to that industry and our Lower Manhattan neighborhood was printing – every business and transaction needed receipts, bills, advertisements, and certificates, and printing offices like Bowne & Co. filled the need.
Workshops at Bowne & Co. are in a working print shop and utilize the Seaport Museum’s collection of 19th- and early 20th-century type and printing presses. Be prepared for an experience where you don’t just learn history, you’ll get a chance to be hands-on and make it yourself.
Letterpress Workshops are currently paused because of COVID restrictions. Please contact us below to be the first to receive updates on our schedule.
500 Years of Printing in One Hour
60 Minutes | Maximum 34 participants | Grades 6–Adult
Using objects and equipment from the Seaport Museum’s collection, the printers at Bowne & Co. will take you through the history of printing from Gutenberg to the New York Times.
- See demonstrations of several presses
- Learn the New York printing story
- Pull a print from the press
- Get a printed keepsake to take home
Custom Stationery Workshop
3.5 hours| Maximum 6 participants | Grade 9–adult
This workshop introduces participants to typesetting and letterpress printing.
- Choose from a selection of the Museum’s vintage lead type to design personalized stationery
- Set type, fine-tune a design, and print a final run
- Use a 19th-century press
- Go home with twenty personal stationery items
Team Broadside Printing
3.5 hours | Maximum 16 participants | Grade 9–adult
A broadside is a large sheet of paper printed on one side to create a poster, which could be anything from a circus advertisement to a political announcement.
- Collaborate with classmates to design and print a broadside poster
- Select wood type from among the hundreds of fonts in the Museum’s collection
- Lock letters into the press and then ink, proof, and print
- Learn about the physical origins of leading and character spacing
- Pull a final print
- Go home with three copies of the group’s poster
Workshop instruction is very time-sensitive. Students arriving over 15 minutes late will not be permitted to participate. No open-toe shoes allowed.
Contact Us to Learn More
Reservations and payment required in advance. To book a program or for more information on details, pricing, and reservation process, please contact us below or call us at (212) 748-8568.
Visit Our Online Shop
We’re excited to announce our new Bowne & Co. Online Shop with a special selection of core offerings from Bowne & Co.
Bowne & Co.
Established in 1775, Bowne & Co. is New York’s oldest operating business under the same name. Using seven historic presses from the Museum’s working collection, our resident printers continue the age-old tradition of job (or small batch) printing, creating individual designs using custom plates or historic fonts.