One of the world's oldest museums for printing, the Gutenberg Museum invites visitors on a journey through four millennia of book, printing, and script culture. From cuneiform inscriptions to modern typography, from manuscripts to printing presses, from a reconstruction of Gutenberg's workshop and two original Gutenberg Bibles to the print shop (Druckladen), the museum's educational project space, the permanent and special exhibitions offer a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the "black art".
A treasury of books, printing, and script history
The museum is primarily dedicated to Johannes Gutenberg, a native of Mainz and "Man of the Millennium" , who invented printing with movable metal type more than 550 years ago, initiating a media revolution. In addition to comprehensive information about his life, work, and inventions, as well as their reception and consequences, the museum, which was founded in 1900 by citizens of Mainz, presents all aspects of letterpress printing.
At the heart of the permanent exhibition there are two copies of the world-famous 42-line Gutenberg Bible that can be viewed and compared in the walk-in vault. Technical printing tools, typesetting machines, and printing presses from several centuries bring the history of printing to life. Unique examples of the European book culture from the 15th century to this day exemplify the visual and thematic diversity of one of cultural history's most important chapters.
World Museum for the Art of Printing
As a "World Museum for the Art of Printing", the Gutenberg Museum has established separate sections for the earliest history of printing in East Asia (since the 8th century), as well as scripts and printing in the Islamic World. A manuscript section explains the development of scripts, while other sections are dedicated to the history of presses, the craft of bookbinding, fine press printing techniques, as well as the manufacturing of paper and colors.
With its collection of several hundreds of thousands of items, many award-winning special exhibitions and innovative cultural touristic (facilitation) offers, the Gutenberg Museum annually brings more than 140,000 visitors from around 70 countries to Mainz where they can witness the entire universe of printing across an exhibition area of around 3,500 square meters.