By: Linda Falkman
The sights and sounds of an old-time newspaper office come alive each day at the Minnesota State Fair
Our Minnesota Newspaper Museum is a living-history newspaper office, representing a 1930s weekly newspaper. It features demonstrations of historic letterpress equipment. During the State Fair, nearly 70 volunteers run the museum for as many as 30,000 visitors over 12 days.
For 26 years, we operated out of a red brick newspaper office in Heritage Square. Now you can find us on Cosgrove Avenue in the 4-H Building Annex, a short distance north of the main Snelling Avenue entrance to the State Fair.
Come and see the new/old exhibit where we will produce and print a newspaper called the “Maynard News” — just as we have done for the past 26 years. The news is “built” from the ground up, using a linotype (forcing hot lead metal into a casting box to form a “line of type”), a cylinder press and a folder. Visitors are invited to take away a souvenir newspaper.
Ink-stained volunteers will still be folding newspaper hats for visitors, and we will have an “Editor of the Day” to talk with visitors about current media issues, and how newspapers have played an important role in Minnesota’s democracy.
As in most old-time newspapers, there’s a working commercial printing shop. From the old-time printers, you can get free bookmarks and postcards that they’ve just printed on the old press.
For these 26 years, we have focused on interpreting the physical process of letterpress printing by performing different jobs as newspaper employees did in Minnesota between 1850 and 1970.
We welcome you to our new location with renewed energy and the clacking sounds of the linotype, the smell of the newspaper ink and the rolling of the big newspaper printing press.
Linda Falkman is the current president of the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates the Minnesota Newspaper Museum. She is also MNA Executive Director Emeritus.