by Steve Haruch
The begin-all of Nashville's thriving printmaking culture, Hatch is a Music City treasure. Its new location will take it off the main tourist strip downtown, but will also have more space for printmaking demos, and give museum visitors the chance to see the staff at work through large glass windows. But even though the shop will be subsumed by the new CMHoF expansion, Young says, "Admission to Hatch will continue to be free, and visitors will be able to access the shop from a new entrance on Fifth Ave. S., from the museum’s current Demonbreun Street entrance and from the Omni Hotel."
One of Nashville's best getting bigger and better — hard to argue with that. Full release below.
HATCH SHOW PRINT® COMES HOME:
VENERABLE LETTERPRESS SHOP TO MOVE INTO EXPANDED COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME® AND MUSEUM
NASHVILLE, Tenn., October 15, 2012 — Hatch Show Print®, the iconic letterpress print shop owned and operated by the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, will move from its current location at 316 Broadway into a new, custom-designed space within the expanded museum, museum officials announced today. The move will take place in late 2013.
“Hatch Show Print’s move to our expanding museum campus is the logical next step in our decades-long effort to preserve the shop,” said Museum Director Kyle Young. “Hatch, founded in 1879, is one of the oldest letterpress print shops in the U.S., and is synonymous with Southern entertainment, particularly early country music stars. It is entirely fitting that the shop, with its venerable history and invaluable collection of carved wood blocks, will reside permanently at the museum. For more than 20 years, the museum has labored to safeguard Hatch and its legacy, and this is the culmination of that work. The shop has changed locations seven times over its 133-year history; now it will have a ‘forever’ home.
“Longtime Nashville residents will recall that, a few decades ago, the city was at risk of losing Hatch Show Print,” Young continued. “In the 1980s, the ‘handmade’ look for which Hatch was known fell out of fashion, and the shop was in danger of going out of business or being moved to another state. Gaylord Entertainment Co. purchased Hatch in 1986 and the following year asked the museum to curate the shop; Gaylord’s CEO at the time, Bud Wendell, understood that Hatch was a treasure that needed to be preserved. In 1992, Gaylord donated the shop to the museum, and we began our efforts to revitalize it (the shop at that time was in the footprint of construction of the BellSouth building, so we moved it to its current location). Today, Hatch Show Print Curator and Manager Jim Sherraden and his talented team are working at maximum capacity to meet the demand for the shop’s bespoke wares—‘preservation through production’ at its best.
“Hatch will continue to operate as it always has,” said Young. “In its new space on the museum’s first floor, Hatch will have an expanded production area with an adjacent retail site. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows on one wall of the production space will allow visitors to watch as designers lay out type and print posters on the letterpresses. We’ll even have a dedicated design space where Hatch staff can offer hands-on demos to visitors at designated times.
“Admission to Hatch will continue to be free, and visitors will be able to access the shop from a new entrance on Fifth Ave. S., from the museum’s current Demonbreun Street entrance and from the Omni Hotel,” Young added.
Hatch Show Print was founded by C.R. and H.H. Hatch in 1879; the first Hatch poster was a 6” x 9” “dodger,” or handbill, heralding a lecture by the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, the brother of Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe, at the Grand Opera House on April 12, 1879.
The shop blossomed in the 1920s under the steady hand of Will T. Hatch, who applied his own bold style in hand carving the wood blocks used in the letterpress process. For much of the 20th century, the firm’s vibrant, colorful posters served as a leading advertising medium for southern entertainment—from vaudeville and minstrel shows, to magicians and opera singers, to Negro League baseball games and B-movies. Many of Hatch’s most loyal clients were Grand Ole Opry stars. To this day, Hatch posters for Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe and others are cherished by music fans, designers and art critics alike.
Each Hatch Show Print poster is a unique creation, individually handcrafted and inked onto paper in a painstaking process that dates back to the fifteenth century. This process, known as letterpress, involves inking hand-carved wood blocks and metal photo plates and type that are then pressed to paper to form an image. Posters utilizing more than one color require separate wood blocks or type for each color and usually go through the press once for each color.
In recent years, Hatch Show Print designs have been commissioned by Anthropologie, CNN, the New York Times, Nissan, Nordstrom and Taschen Books, among others.
Hatch’s sales have increased from $12,000 in 1986 to about $750,000 in 2011, and the shop hosts about 30,000 visitors a year.
Hatch Show Print has been a feature subject in a wide range of media including CNN, Conde Nast Traveler, Forbes, Martha Stewart Living Radio, Southern Living and Vogue. Chronicle Books published Hatch Show Print: The History of a Great American Poster Shop, in 2001.
Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum’s mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture. With the same educational mission, the foundation also operates CMF Records, the museum’s Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print®.
More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at www.countrymusichalloffame.org or by calling (615) 416-2001.