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Nashville’s Hatch Show Print offers daily public tours

Posted on Monday, August 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Hatch Show PrintNashville’s iconic letterpress print shop, Hatch Show Print, is now offering daily public tours.

Another historic property of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, the 135-year-old operation, located within the museum’s new expansion, has opened its doors and its archives to give visitors a peek into its history for the first time.

Hatch tours can be purchased online or at the museum’s box office for $15 for an adult tour admission and $10 for youth. Purchase of a museum ticket is not required. The 60-minute tours occur daily at 12:30 pm, 2 pm and 3:30 pm—except on one Sunday  each month (following the First Saturday Art Crawl), when a Hatch-themed family program is offered in lieu of the tours.

The tours serve as a new avenue for fulfilling the museum’s educational mission—along with exhibits, Historic RCA Studio B tours, a full slate of public and school programs, books and CD projects and more.

Beginning in Hatch’s new production shop, guests will learn about the history of letterpress printing and the process of poster production at Hatch—a method that has changed very little since the shop’s early days. The staff work with clients to design and print nearly 600 custom jobs annually.  Even today, everything is still done by hand. From carving blocks to hand-setting type and cranking the presses, computers never factor into the production process. In this digital era, many consider letterpress printing unrivaled for its subtleties of texture and color. Hatch Show Print carries on this centuries-old process with a 21st century design sensibility.

Next, the tour moves to the new Hatch Show Print Space for Design—a new classroom-workshop designed specifically for tours and hands-on family programs. Here, participants take a deep dive into Hatch Show Print’s legacy. They will learn about the earliest known poster printed by the shop’s founders, Charles and Herbert Hatch; about how the shop put itself on the map by designing and printing advertising for vaudeville acts, traveling circus shows and Grand Ole Opry stars; about how the rise of the computer and the CD kept the business afloat in the early 1990s; and about Hatch’s growing popularity in the new millennium. Visitors will hear it all, see colorful examples and more.

At the conclusion of the tour, guests are invited to print their own commemorative Hatch Show Print piece and join those who have carried out Hatch’s mantra: “preservation through production.”

Since moving into its new home, Hatch Show Print has grown to include not only a larger production area and a new classroom, but also a bigger retail space, with more Hatch Show Print memorabilia and gifts, and the new Hatch Show Print’s Haley Gallery, an art gallery featuring historic re-strikes of original posters from the collection, as well as Master Printer Jim Sherraden’s monoprints.

Hatch Show Print is located at 224 Fifth Avenue South. For more information about tours or the history of the shop, visit hatchshowprint.com.