FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler,

September 15, 2015 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on September 15, 2015.

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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to:

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at




Musée de l'Imprimerie, new generations


N ews from Lyon's wonderful Musée de l'Imprimerie: a new name, new orientation, new directeur, new generation -- (Email notice received September 8 from the Musée, selections: tr. en américain JK --)





And now a Note:

I have been a fan of this Musée for a very long time... We lived in La Croix Rousse, high on the steep hill above Lyon, 1992-3: me & my family -- me studying Minitel, my wife learning street-market-français & périphérique-heure-de-pression technique -- "You just put your foot on the gas & you go, & don't look in the mirror, they will move..." -- plus two little blond American boys training in the mysteries of French schoolyard-survival and 'football'...

My scheduled visit to the beautiful little Musée building -- see,

-- became one of the remarkable events of our Lyon séjour.

I knew I'd enjoy it: Lyon's printing history fascinated me already -- those rebellious kids armed with the newest 'hitech', fresh from Mainz, funded by 15th c. 'venture-capital', all breaking established rules & regulations, 'social' & other, with impunity... near-impunity, exceptions most-famously including Étienne Dolet... grouped together down along the rue Mercière, then-grotty alley by the riverside, they'd throw their old fonts out the back window to rest in the river-mud there for centuries, bad for the fish but fascinating for later historians... plus hand-printing ateliers for our two pre-teen boys, future digital-generation aficionados both, a vital necessity for any parent of same... -- I couldn't have been disappointed!

But, preconceptions-aside, I also encountered 2 very exceptional things:

1) a "placard"... The Musée courtyard & building & natural-light Renaissance windows & interior spaces alone are worth-a-journey, as is its remarkable collection and the tender-loving-care French curators typically lavish upon layout & description, explanation, présentation -- enjoying all that, then rounding a corner, I came upon the display of a notice some early-printer had had the courage to post upon the door of the king's bed-chamber at Amboise...

-- the arts of "la communication graphique" of an earlier age... not only that, also the printer-as-activist, l'imprimeur-engagé, Caxton, Ben Franklin, the truly-revolutionary aspect of transitions in media, per McLuhan & Elizabeth Eisenstein & so many others...

Epiphanies at the Museum, then: the name-changes have been evocative -- when I first saw it, the institution was the "Musée de l'Imprimerie et de la Banque", information-as-institution(s) -- over the years since then, tho, times have changed, so now it has become the "Musée de l'Imprimerie et de la Communication Graphique", information-as-processes -- a salutary change, emblematic perhaps of societies which have become, both for worse and for better, decidedly more fluid than they were recently... a transition which took place during the 16th century too... We live in interesting times: to me it is comforting to see some institutions, like the Musée, which have the temerity and flexibility both to preserve the past and to keep-up with the present;

-- then too -- as so often is true in France, I've found -- I also encountered,

2) the staff... I met a young Scot, newly-engaged in developing the Musée, and bubbling with energy and enthusiasm for it, also an older French printer, ditto and if-anything even more energetic -- I learned more about the dredging of ancient fonts up out of rivers, and I saw warehouses literally filled with an earlier era's "hi-tech revolution"... and so fully-realising for the first time, or being-convinced by those two, that our own very similar "hi-tech revolution", then (1992) under-way 'way over in La Californie at our Silicon Valley, was not the first... epiphanies at the Musée, bis...


I am forever grateful, then, to the Musée -- whatever it calls itself officially, going forward, as it keeps-up with Change... -- kudos and a bonne retraite to Alan Marshall, a warm-welcome from a far-flung adhérent to the new directeur, Joseph Belletante, and excitement to see what new insights on wonderfully-old but perenially-important topics a new generation will provide.


Jack Kessler



FYI France (sm)(tm) e-journal ISSN 1071-5916
      |         FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic
      |         journal published since 1992 as a small-scale,
      |         personal experiment, in the creation of large-
      |         scale "information overload", by Jack Kessler.
     / \        Any material written by me which appears in
    -----       FYI France may be copied and used by anyone for
   //   \\      any good purpose, so long as, a) they give me
  ---------     credit and show my email address, and, b) it
 //       \\    isn't going to make them money: if it is going
                to make them money, they must get my permission
in advance, and share some of the money which they get with me. 
Use of material written by others requires their permission. 
FYI France archives are in various places on the Internet, i.e. 
at (PACS-L), 
or Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, 
praise, and poison-pen letters all gratefully received at .
        	Copyright 1992- , by Jack Kessler,
	all rights reserved except as indicated above. 




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