During the first days of independence, the Government conducted official and legislative assignment with improvised and defective printing office.
In 1812 there were two printing houses in Bogota, which were acquired in the United States for Cundinamarca; one called "State Printing House" until 1881, that after the Battle of Boyacá, was called "Government Printing House" and the other one, called "The Sun", which subsequently became property of the wise Caldas.
The Government had a real printing office from May 18th, 1894, when, in the presidency of Miguel Antonio Caro, it was purchased what was then the best press in Bogotá: the "Echavarria Brothers", in which installations was organized definitely the National Press. Then, it was issued the Executive Decree 504 that left it under the agency of the Ministry of Government.
The presence of the National Press is closely linked to the crucial and decisive moments in the history of the country, being exceptional witness of management of leaders, in pursuit of its primary mission: to ensure the legal and administrative faithfulness, through reproduction and dissemination of official laws; for conservation of State memory from generation to generation.
Each step is a leap into the future
One of the most important changes to configure the structure and staffing of the National Press due to the decrees issued by the government in April and June 1952. Under these decrees, it was fused with the National Press, the printing office of the Ministry of National Education, the General Comptroller, the National University and National Railways.
In 1994, on the occasion of the centenary of its establishment, it was issued the Act 109, during the government of César Gaviria Trujillo, with which it was actually an old aspiration: to turn the National Press in an industrial and commercial State business linked the Ministry of Justice, which guarantees incomes for their industrial and commercial activities. These resources can be devoted to the implementation of modernization plans, technical renovation, research and staff training objectives that are currently engaged.
Graphic Arts Museum
The National Press of Colombia has a graphic arts museum, founded on April 30th, 1964 by Tarcisio Higuera Barrera. Its main objective is to preserve and show the public the historical transformation of the graphic arts, machinery, documents, equipment used by printers and various publications made for over two centuries. All it was found there contains an invaluable historical importance.
The first installation was only temporary; however, seeing the great success of this initiative, it was built the first Colonial hall, called "Antonio Espinosa de los Monteros" in honor of the founder and first director of the Royal Press. Another hall is the "National Lithography", which communicates with the previous one, by a beautiful arch of monolithic columns, inherited from the old Palace of San Carlos. Inside, 400 German lithographic pieces rest over fine countrified furniture, that belonged to the National Lithography and which stayed, with arabesques and engraving for posterity, half a century of national life corresponding to the bloodiest period of civil strife between countrymen.
The third and most spacious room corresponds to "Carlos Lopez de Narvaez Hall", named in honor of the famous poet, professor, and writer. There is a huge and beautiful mural painting on wood, made in 1973 by Luis Alberto Acuña in which different periods of graph evolution were represented.
This is the only museum dedicated to the graphic arts that have news throughout Latin America and worldwide, it is up to others like the Universal Museum of Printing of Mainz, the Leipzig Museum and others in Europe.
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