About the Grabhorn Institute

The Grabhorn Institute was formed to preserve and perpetuate the use of two unique San Francisco businesses with roots more than one-hundred years old as a living museum and educational center: M & H Type, established in 1915, which is now one of the oldest and largest continuously operating type foundries in America, and Arion Press, founded in 1974, publisher of limited-edition artist books printed by letterpress and bound by hand. Designated an “irreplaceable cultural treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Institute houses an extensive and historically significant collection of metal typefaces and associated ornamental cuts, and supports the only paid apprenticeship program in typecasting, letterpress printing and bookbinding in the country. The small staff of M & H Type and Arion Press are all graduates of the apprenticeship program. The Institute also sponsors a series of free public talks, demonstrations, and exhibits, in addition to weekly tours of the Press. Our gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 9am–5pm.

Learn more about the Grabhorns and the history of Arion Press.

Typecaster Chris Godek, 2019

Typecaster Chris Godek, 2019


The Grabhorn Institute’s weekly guided tours of our “living museum” allow us to share the vibrant history and contemporary practice of fine bookmaking in San Francisco with the public. Tours are held most Thursdays at 3pm and last about 90 minutes; a reservation is recommended.