THE MUSEUM IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED
AND MOVING TO ALPINE, UTAH
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The Gutenberg Press!
A SHORT HISTORY OF HOW THE CRANDALL HISTORICAL PRINTING MUSEUM STARTED
Founder & Curator:
Louis E. Crandall, Sr.
July 27, 1929 - Sept. 11, 2016
What started in 1998 as the fulfillment of one man’s lifelong dream, the Crandall Historical Printing Museum has become a historic treasure to Utah Valley. It's been called the most complete printing museum in the world. And here’s how it started. Founder Louis E. Crandall, Sr. collected antiques through out his life. One of his most prized possessions was the acquisition of an early 1850's Peter Smith hand upright printing press used to print newspapers and pamphlets with a large platen that could print a poster as well. He actually used the press in the amusement park he founded in Tempe, Arizona known as Legend City (circa 1963), to print a collector addition newspaper that visitors would purchase at the park. It also printed western-themed Wanted Posters for visitors. These posters made a fun souvenir as they were personalized with each visitor's name! His interest in printing began at the age of 14 when he worked doing typesetting in a newspaper shop in Phoenix, Arizona. This started a lifetime career in and love for printing and the graphic arts. He took a few classes at Arizona State University in art, but knew that being an entrepreneur was his true calling, so he started his own print shop and eventually an advertising agency while in his 20's. He even invented a children's newspaper printing kit which was a big hit when he introduced it at a national toy convention in New York.
A naturally talented graphic designer and commercial artist, his agency and print shop was named, The Louis E. Crandall Advertising Agency. In his early 30's, he began his plans to start an amusement park. He was fascinated with the new Disneyland in California and wanted to entertain people in a similar fashion. He always dreamed big and for someone his age, this was a huge undertaking. The park stood for over 20 years and made cherished lifelong memories for thousands of people in Arizona. He was dubbed “the Walt Disney of Arizona” as all he wanted to do was bring joy to kids and adults alike and provide a place that was not only fun, but educational. To create this masterpiece, he consulted with representatives from Six flags Over Texas and even Disney to help in designing every inch of a very memorable park. With an Old West theme (he loved western movies) and the stories and places of the desert (from Superstition Mountain and the Lost Dutchman's Mine), he built rides and attractions that made the park come alive for visitors. This included reenactments of famous gunfights in the streets, canoe rides, train robberies, and more. He even provided a Disneyland-like steam train giving rides around the part as well as a stagecoach tour down the Main Street. You could pan for gold, ride a log flume or enjoy a rollercoaster all in one day. He moved his family to Provo with a goal to build a ski resort, but immediately started up an ad agency named Western Advertising along with a full-service print shop (Press Publishing). He provided advertising, PR, graphic design and printing for many clients throughout Utah, Arizona, California and even Europe. One of his top clients was KLM Airlines in Amsterdam with other big local clients Murdock Travel and even The Osmond Brothers.
After many years of collecting antiques, especially printing old type cases, presses, paper cutters and the like, Louis decided to turn his ad agency on Center Street in Provo into a unique printing museum experience where people could be educated on how printing (especially the printing of the scriptures) changed the world and spread a message of faith in the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an immediate hit, especially with the creation of a replica Gutenberg press built using blueprints from Mainz, Germany. The authenticity of the English Common Press used by Benjamin Franklin was carried on using blueprints from the Smithsonian. Finally, an exact duplicate of the famous Acorn Press from Palmyra, New York, that printed the Book of Mormon was commissioned. These amazing machines and artifacts will be his lasting legacy for all to enjoy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has recognized the museum as the most authentic education center for the printing the Book of Mormon and even sends it's docents from the Church Museum in Salt Lake to the Crandall Historical Printing Museum for training on how the book was miraculously brought into existence.
His testimony was that, "the first commercially printed book in the world was the Bible and 380 years later the Book of Mormon were both printed using the same technology including hot lead movable type, ink balls and painstaking hand work that was never duplicated or improved upon for hundreds of years and many generations".
His vision is for everyone to come to this remarkable museum to share in his passion and learn why the printing of the scriptures are not only fascinating but nothing short of miraculous. Each attendee leaves with a renewed determination to read these books and to build one's faith in the Gospel!
"The Crandall Historical Printing Museum stands as one of the most unique printing museums in the World with strict attention to the absolute authenticity in the presentation of type casting, printing, bookbinding, and ink making."