About the Exhibit


Open June 27, 2014 – Indefinite

Behind the Badge exhibit entrance
The exhibition entrance features a portion of the Postal Inspection Service's specialized mobile command unit vehicle.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno
The exhibition entrance features a portion of the Postal Inspection Service's specialized mobile command unit vehicle.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno
The National Postal Museum’s exhibition, Behind the Badge: United States Postal Inspection Service, spotlights the work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Post offices, postal employees, and mail are common sights across the country. What Americans may not realize is that behind each of these is a network of inspectors working to keep the mail safe and empowering consumers to protect themselves and prevent crimes.

Behind the Badge offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about this little-known agency through some very well known cases that crossed their desks. Visitors’ first encounter is a dramatic scene dominated by a mobile command center vehicle. These high-tech vehicles are fully, self-contained units—with power supplies, communication equipment, emergency gear, and forensics lab materials—and can be easily dispatched as needed to locations anywhere in the United States.

As visitors enter the exhibition, they will find it divided into four sections that interweave historic and contemporary cases. Through a series of videos, postal inspectors, forensic analysts, and postal police officers share their stories of life “behind the badge.” Visitors will be given opportunities to learn how to spot frauds and other mail scams, not just for themselves, but on behalf of family members who may find themselves faced with opportunities that are just “too good to be true.”

Behind the Badge exhibit
The scope of the agency's mission encompasses the entire postal system and provides security for everyone's mail.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno
The scope of the agency's mission encompasses the entire postal system and provides security for everyone's mail.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno

Behind the Badge exhibit
What does it take to be a postal inspector? Visitors can try their hand at a series of four interactives that highlight the skills that postal inspectors use to solve and prevent crimes: gather clues at a crime scene, match fingerprints, identify a suspect, and protect major event venues by screening mail for explosive, biological, chemical, and radiological agents.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno
What does it take to be a postal inspector? Visitors can try their hand at a series of four interactives that highlight the skills that postal inspectors use to solve and prevent crimes: gather clues at a crime scene, match fingerprints, identify a suspect, and protect major event venues by screening mail for explosive, biological, chemical, and radiological agents.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno

Behind the Badge exhibit
This evidence on exhibit demonstrates some of the myriad of ways criminals have targeted the mail.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno
This evidence on exhibit demonstrates some of the myriad of ways criminals have targeted the mail.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno

Behind the Badge exhibit
“Help Keep the Mail Safe” is a multi-user touch table that challenges visitors to distinguish fraudulent or dangerous mail from safe pieces. These are 12 common mail pieces that visitors could encounter at home or at the office. Which one should you open? Which one might empty your bank account? You decide.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno
“Help Keep the Mail Safe” is a multi-user touch table that challenges visitors to distinguish fraudulent or dangerous mail from safe pieces. These are 12 common mail pieces that visitors could encounter at home or at the office. Which one should you open? Which one might empty your bank account? You decide.
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno

Please note, the selection of objects and images on this website may differ from the items on exhibit in the museum’s Behind the Badge gallery.