Melaka's The Royal Press relives journey of age-old printing business in video series

A sample of letterpress blocks at The Royal Press museum in Melaka. Photo: The Royal Press

The Royal Press, a polyglot letterpress museum located along Jalan Hang Jebat in Melaka, had initial plans to officially launch its newly-restored venue last April.

But due to the pandemic, all plans had to be put on hold.

During this time, The Royal Press team had come up with other programmes and activities to ensure its sustainability.

“The pandemic has impacted the tourism industry severely. We have been in talks with potential collaborators and partners to develop products and work on special projects that will be launched when the museum reopens.

"We have also been consistently maintaining the condition of the museum so that if and when our doors reopen, we are more than ready to welcome visitors back into the vicinity, ” said The Royal Press in a statement recently.

One of the first projects to be rolled out is a video series scheduled for release next month (April).

These 10 videos, produced in partnership with Yayasan Sime Darby, will feature stories of the age-old printing business in Malaya, its history, interesting facts and printed artefacts dating back to eight decades.

While the museum is currently open to the public on weekends only (Friday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm), it will likely be a while before visitors from other states can visit.

The upcoming video series will offer a sneak peek into The Royal Press tour, giving audiences a glimpse into the space and its stories, while we wait out the pandemic and travel restrictions.

“In these videos, we will be reintroducing our letterpress museum to the audience and tell stories of a bygone era. Our mission has always been to cultivate and spread awareness, and appreciation of the craft of letterpress and knowledge of its technique amongst the community, ” added the statement.

It adds that with the advent of digital printing, the art of letterpress has been reduced to a printing technique that is on the verge to be forgotten.

“Printmaking used to be laborious composition work and the entire printing process had to be well-planned and carefully thought-out prior to printing. However, nowadays with just a click of a button, mass prints can be produced in just a short period of time.

"We hope that by sharing these videos, our audience will take an interest and join us in our movement in preserving the art of letterpress printmaking so that the future generations may have the same privilege of appreciating the dying art of letterpress."

If the video series is well-received by the public, we just might hear of a live streaming session from The Royal Press in the near future.

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