Five hundred years of printing are being showcased at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum in the coming months, including some special schools sessions dedicated to "chap books", the early forerunners of newspapers.
Elspeth King, the director of the gallery and museum, plans to run sessions targeted at upper primary pupils on two of the most famous producers of this "street literature" - Dougal Graham, from Stirling, who became an early war correspondent by writing an eye-witness account of the Jacobite rebellion, and William Cameron, better known as "Hawkie", after his main "chap" about hawkies, the old Scots name for cows.
Adam McNaughtan, folk musician and former English teacher in Glasgow, who has an unrivalled knowledge of chap books and street literature, will deliver sessions for secondary pupils.
An important theme of the exhibition is the Stirling Press of Eneas Mackay, from the 1880s to 1950. The company was famous for producing guide-books, and the gallery plans to offer sessions on what should go into a guide-book and what to mark on a map.
Also recommended is the "Meet the Editor" session on January 31. It will feature Alan Rennie, editor of The Stirling Observer, and John Miller, its former caseroom manager turned journalist, whose knowledge of the printing process is drawn from his training as a printer in the days of hot metal.
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