Information on:

Hamilton Wood Type And Printing Museum

1816 10th Street

History And Overview:

Operated by volunteers of the Two Rivers Historical Society, the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. With 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns, Hamilton's collection is one of the premier wood type collections in the world.

On one end of the museum, an 145-foot wall displays the world's largest wall of wood type. More than 1,000 different styles and patterns, ranging in sizes from 1/4-inch to 48-inches, all are housed in cabinet after cabinet, in drawers and on shelves.

Hamilton began producing type in 1880 and within 20 years became the largest provider in the United States. During that time, as waves of immigrants helped build the republic, news and public information was printed in many styles of wood type.

"When people see wood type they often remember the classic 'Wanted' poster," says Historical Society board member Jim Van Lanen. "If you discover the other printed items of our nation's graphic history, you will find wood type in almost every historical society collection. You will find printed documents and posters that help illustrate how people communicated with each other. Whether it was the sale of horses or land, political rallies, booklets, packaging or circus posters - wood type expressed the message of that day."

The museum is arranged as a fully functional workshop and educational venue. In addition to its massive collection of 19th, 20th and soon-to-be-added 21st Century wood type, the museum also illustrates antique printing technologies including the production of hot metal type, hand operated printing presses, tools of the craft and rare type specimen catalogs.

Hamilton volunteers host educational demonstrations, field trips, workshops and offer opportunities for artists, printers, historians and other scholars to experiment with this vast wood type collection. "We have benefited from the life experiences of the many people who actually made the exquisitely detailed wood type and who still reside in Two Rivers," says Van Lanen. "These people are in their 70s and 80s. They showed us, from memory, how the type workshop really operated - the old secrets that make these extraordinarily beautiful and distinctively American alphabets."


Tim Bailen

Sunday, July 1, 2018
Our Airbnb hostess pointed us to this gem. You don't get a sense of the size of this place when you first walk in. There is quite a bit to see. We ended up spending about an hour and a half. The $5 admission is a bargain for getting to see all of the old machinery, all the old typefaces, and to learn about this industry that this company ended up dominating for many decades. It was plenty interesting going around self-guided, but we learned that there are tours available, and it is clear that the staff are very knowledgeable. Tours run for 45 minutes to an hour, and I learned that one of the tour guides used to be employed at the company.

Jane Gleissner

Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018
Inspiring mixture of history plus the largest collection of wood type you could hope to set eyes on. Charming, knowledgeable staff make tours and workshops fun and educational

Mark Brylski

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018
Very interesting local history. Would be very interesting as an art project.

Sue Pauly

Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017
Such wonderful, friendly staff. My husband and I especially enjoyed an up close view of several old Linotype machines and chatting with one of their volunteers - a retired physicist - who was so informative and personable. Thanks for making it a fun winter day in Two Rivers.

Jack Gadzala

Monday, Feb. 29, 2016
The place is huge inside! Extensive exhibits. Definitely worth a visit especially since it only costs $5. The museum store probably has THE most unique Two Rivers souvenirs you are likely to find anywhere. Exceptionally friendly and informative staff.

Hamilton Wood Type And Printing Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media