National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

The National Postal Museum is located in the old Post Office building next to Union Station in Washington, D.C.
The Museum was created by an agreement between the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Postal Service in 1990 and opened in 1993.
Museum brings to life the colorful history of the nation’s mail service. Visitors learn how mail has been transported, emphasize the importance of letters, and spotlight the creation and wondrous diversity of postage stamps.

The museum displays

• History of the United States Postal Service
• Modes of mail transportation and artistic mailboxes.
• Mail services around the world.
• Vast collection of stamps.
• Pony Express the use of railroads with the mail.
• What’s in the Mail for You the use of direct marketing.
National Postal Museum offers special programs including workshops, films, family programs, lectures, and guided tours. More than 40,000 books and archival documents are housed at the National Postal Museum Library.
The museum houses a gift shop and a separate stamp shop. This is a great attraction for kids because many of the exhibits are interactive.

Strange Mails

It is interesting to know what people mails? Few examples.
1. A live lobster and handful of live shrimp mailed at the New York City post office, addressed to Philadelphia.
2. A brindle bulldog delivered by crate at the Yonkers, New York, post office.
3. Someone in Zanesville, Ohio mailed a coffin.
Among the items considered unmailable in the new service were intoxicants, poisons, poisonous animals, insects, reptiles, inflammable materials, pistols, revolvers, live (or dead) animals, live birds or poultry, raw hides or “any article with a bad odor”.
Certainly you will surprise with the use of the service to “mail” people.
The story of May Pierstorff, the little five-year-old girl who was “mailed” between two towns in Idaho in 1914 is that. Just short of what was then the limit 50 pounds, May cost 53-cents to send from her parents in Grangeville to her grandparents in Lewiston, Idaho for a visit. May traveled the short distance with a Railway Post Office clerk in the mail train car. Her story is told in a children’s book titled, “Mailing May.”
Amazingly enough May was not the only child mailed by parcel post in the U.S., nor was she even the first.
Visit the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum and be surprised.

– Written by Mukesh Shah, OnBoard Tours staff writer