The Chapel: Inside Ireland’s National Print Museum
Although the modern design world continues its well-documented love affair with the look and feel of letterpress, the once highly regarded trade of printing press operation has largely faded out as a career path, giving way to the relentless growth of digital printing methods.
Ireland’s National Print Museum in Dublin was founded in 1996 by retired printers who couldn’t bear to watch their trades disappear without trace or fanfare. “The Chapel”, a core group of volunteers (mostly retirees), are dedicated to keeping the museum’s collection of historical printing machines — and the skills required to operate them — from fading away as well.
The museum recently commissioned Ruth Carden and two other local photographers to document the work of The Chapel, including a skills-transfer program designed to involve the younger generation. These images form part of an ongoing photo exhibit that debuted in July 2020, when the museum reopened after the pandemic lockdown.