The National Postal Museum
This surprisingly entertaining, family-oriented museum is dedicated to the history of postal service and stamps in this country. And you don't have to be a philatelist to love it. The exhibits on the Pony Express and airmail are particularly interesting, especially to children, but there is truly something here for everyone. Visitors get a chance to sort the mail, create their own mail routes over land and sea, ride a stagecoach, land an airmail biplane via a computer game (it's quite difficult), drive a Freightliner big-rig, and create their own postal imprint on a postcard, which they can mail to friends and family, and it's all for free.
In addition, there are extensive exhibits on the printing and history of stamps, rotating displays of the world's great collections, and the role the mail and its transportation had in binding the nation together. The museum also features an exhibit, “War Letters: Lost and Found,” which showcases letters thrown away and later found by strangers written to and from American troops from the Civil War through Vietnam. Art lovers will appreciate the exhibition of the history of migratory hunting stamps, possibly the most beautiful nonpostage stamps ever produced. Also on view are a number of vehicles used to deliver the mail, from 1911 biplanes based on the designs of the Wright Brothers to a 1931 Ford Model A mail truck to that Freightliner semi.
What a surprisingly engaging museum the National Postal Museum is! Though seemingly geared toward children and stamp collectors, the museum exhibits operate on many levels, and the philosophically inclined may ruminate on the political, economic, and social importance of the U.S. Mail Service.
There are two gift shops on the premises. One offers posters, T-shirts, and various items from the general Smithsonian collection. In the stamp store across the hall, you can buy stamps for the postcards you create in the museum, as well as rare and special-edition stamps.Location and Hours
The National Postal Museum is located in the Washington City Post Office Building, next to Union Station. It is open from 10