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Shakespeare Press Museum


The Shakespeare Press Museum began as the private collection of Mr. Charles L. Palmer of Fresno, California. Today, the museum is the focus of tours and is one of only two working printing museums west of the Rocky Mountains.

Known as "Shakespeare" to his friends, Mr. Palmer spent his free time from the 1930s to the early 1960s locating and restoring historic pieces of printing equipment His collection grew and became a historic model of the typefaces, printing presses, and other equipment used by printers of the American West during the late 1800s.

In 1950, Bert Fellows, the first head of the Graphic Communication Department, invited Mr. Palmer to display his collection in Cal Poly's newly established printing department. Mr. Palmer began sending his collection to the college, and the transfer of equipment continued until after his death in 1964. On April 30, 1966, the department officially dedicated the collection as a museum, and after an extensive period of restoration, it opened to the public on May 24, 1969.

Under the guidance of a student curator and a faculty advisor, Graphic Communication students regularly print using the antique equipment, gaining an appreciation for printing history and the methods used in the past.











Fact #1

SPM is a working collection of Gold Rush-era printing equipment

Fact #2

SPM was started by Charles Palmer in 1939

Fact #3

SPM has over 500 fonts of antique type, many of which are irreplaceable

Fact #4

SPM is operated by students