Bill Moran: A long legacy & a lot of great memories

By: Jim Moran

When Bill Moran convinced me to volunteer at The Hamilton Museum, it was 2001. He was incredibly excited at the prospects and potential that the museum had. By the following year, he had begun work on: “Hamilton, a History in Headlines” the only book done on the company that highlighted the type cutting and the sprouting of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. Years of volunteer efforts and making connections for the museum caused the Two Rivers Historical Society to hire him as Artistic Director in 2009, when I also joined as Director.

By 2010, a deal had been reached with Target, that created products sold in 1572 stores across the country. It was a great success for Hamilton and Bill was the driving force behind it. Our reach, coupled with the film “Typeface” spread the museum’s name across the country. From AIGA to TypeCon, the HOW Design Conference to AtypeI, we were now asked to speak or teach from Portland to Boston. Bill’s “Travels in Typography” tours took students Europe and connected Hamilton with The Gutenberg Museum in Germany, Tipoteca in Italy and Imprenta Municipal in Madrid. Hamilton was no longer a regional museum.

When the time came for us to leave the old manufacturing plant, the time was short and the money even shorter. Bill became a fund raiser and the project earned us roughly a quarter million dollars, that allowed us to purchase the current museum site.

Not to rest on his laurels, Bill continued the “Type Legacy Program” which linked major type designers like Matthew Carter, Nick Sherman, Erik Spiekermann, Louise Fili, Mark Simonson, Marian Bantjes and Lynn Yun to the Hamilton Type Shop employees by designing fonts that were named after type cutters from Hamilton Mfg.

Lots seemed to have happened in between from the Wayzgoose Conference, now in its 12th year, to tons of friends, workshops and partnerships with places like Planten-Moretus in Belgium to this September's opening of “Bill’s Bugs, at Tipoteca in Italy."

His retirement from Hamilton may not lessen his teaching load but we remain so very grateful for the ambition to push Hamilton to new heights, twenty years ago. Well done!

We celebrated and reminisced with Bill during a Zoom call on his last day at Hamilton. View the recording here


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