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Demonstration Tours & Gallery Exhibitions



Locking up type on the imposing stone in the pressroom

A visitor gets a close view of type
on the imposing stone in the pressroom.

Public demonstration tours of the historic printing and bookmaking facilities of Arion Press and the historic typefoundry of M & H Type are held Thursday afternoons at 3:30 p.m. and last approximately an hour and a half.

These tours provide an extraordinary opportunity to witness this unique facility, one of the last of its kind in the world, in full operation. Visitors can see how type is cast from hot metal in our foundry, watch pages being made up in the composition room and printed by letterpress, and learn how a book is bound by hand, from sewing to backing to casing in. Some of our historic machinery dates back to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Our collection of typefaces is housed in 3,888 typecases, and amongst its many offerings can be found rare samples acquired by the Grabhorn brothers. Our trained craftspeople and apprentices will be your tour guides, combining instruction with demonstration. After the tour is over, feel free to browse our upstairs gallery, which features a rotating exhibition of our latest projects.

There is a charge of $10.00 per person, payable by cash or check made out to “The Grabhorn Institute”. Reservations are required. The tours are sponsored by the nonprofit Grabhorn Institute. For reservations call (415) 668-2542 or e-mail

We welcome group tours of up to 75 persons. If your group is unable to attend our weekly Thursday tour and would like to schedule a special tour, please contact us for scheduling and pricing information.

Directions to the Press

Note: Google Maps, MapQuest, and many GPS services do not have accurate information about the Presidio and are therefore likely to lead you astray. We highly recommend that you follow our directions.

Building 1802 in the Presidio is marked on the map below in yellow. Click on the map for a larger view or click here for a map of the entire Presidio (note: this map does not reflect current construction).

Driving Directions: We are located just inside the Presidio entrance on 14th Avenue off of Lake Street, on the Richmond/Sea Cliff southern side of the Presidio. Once inside the entrance, proceed right to the building with tall smokestack, which is Arion Press, building 1802. Parking paid with credit card until 6:00 p.m., free thereafter.

From downtown: Go west on Geary Boulevard, Clement Street, or California Street to 14th Avenue, turn right and continue north across Lake Street, enter the Presidio, and proceed as above.

From the north: Take Highway 101 South; after the Golden Gate Bridge toll take the 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Boulevard exit; at the first intersection after the tunnel turn right onto Lake Street, right onto 14th Avenue, enter the Presidio, and proceed as above.

From the south: Take 19th Avenue/Park Presidio north to California Street. Turn right onto California, left onto Funston Avenue, left onto Lake Street, cross over Park Presidio, turn right onto 14th Avenue, and proceed as above.

Public Transportation Directions:
From the east or west: Take any of the following bus lines and get off at the Park-Presidio stop: #1-California, #2-Clement, or #38-Geary. Walk to 14th Avenue, walk north through the entrance into the Presidio at 14th Avenue off of Lake Street, and proceed as above.

From the north or south: Take the #28-19th Avenue bus line and get off at the California Street stop. Walk to 14th Avenue, walk north through the entrance into the Presidio at 14th Avenue off of Lake Street, and proceed as above.

Exhibitions in the Arion Press Gallery

The gallery is open free to the public Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by special appointment. Our exhibitions typically feature recent projects and publications of the Arion Press, and include books, prints, photographs, and artifacts related to the creation of the project.

Occasionally we mount exhibits of the work of writers and artists associated with the Press. Examples include "Pj's on the Qt: selected Tangrams / more pieces to the puzzle", which celebrated thirty years of Arion Press master printer Gerald Reddan's imprint, Tangram Press, and "Jess: An Exhibition of Books, Magazines, and Broadsides", featuring more than 60 items by the San Francisco artist known as Jess, whose unique artist book, The Boobus and the Bunnyduck, was reproduced by Arion Press in a limited facsimile edition of 100.

Please note that all of the Arion Press books and prints on exhibit are available for sale. For pricing and purchasing information, ask one of the staff members, or contact us at (415) 668-2542 or

Visit our Events & Exhibitions page for more information about our current exhibit.

For more information contact:

1802 Hays Street, The Presidio
San Francisco, California 94129
Telephone: 415-668-2542
Fax: 415-668-2550

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