Geezers and geeks alike have a chance to capture the sounds, the smells and the stories of Minnesota’s newspapers at the Minnesota Newspaper Museum. You’ll experience the process of mid-1930s era news production when Linotype, letterpresses, and a maze of mechanical and manual tools kept Minnesotans up to speed on everything from the weather and the economy to matters closer to home, including weddings, funerals, births and out-of-town visitors.
Scores of volunteers, including many retired newspaper men and women, are more than pleased to demonstrate, explain and even share hot off the press souvenirs with all comers – especially the young who’ve never seen a working letterpress or elders who stop to reflect on the influence of Minnesota’s vital newspaper industry in their lives.
The Minnesota Newspaper Museum, opened in 1985, reflects the commitment of newspaper leaders to their profession. Earlier this summer past presidents of the Minnesota Newspaper Association pooled their resources, including their normal mileage and pre-diem allowances, to make a generous contribution to the Museum. Their largesse echoes the spirit of Bernie Shelrud, publisher of the Maynard News, who kick-started the Museum; in 1984 Selrud sold his letterpress shop and all of the equipment so Minnesota State Fair-goers could remember and learn about hand set lead type and the mechanics of getting the news readers to throughout the state.
This year the story of the Museum and the work of letterpress printers are part of a film being produced with Legacy funds.
Stroll through Heritage Square to the far end where you’ll be treated to a lively learning experience, a great chat with a printing pro, a copy of the day’s newspaper produced right before your very eyes on a letter press that rolls 9-8 every day of the Fair. Free and open to all, whether you can still smell the ink of the morning’s paper or whether you depend on Twitter for the news that matters.