A museum’s 19th anniversary is not one usually celebrated by big parties full of balloons, cakes, and presents. But it is a nice opportunity to reflect on the past through a blog post.
On July 30, 1993, the National Postal Museum opened, offering at long last an opportunity to share more than just a few objects from the Smithsonian’s philatelic and postal history collections with the public. Over the years the museum has been host to dozens of exhibits, hundreds of public programs and events, and millions of visitors. In the late 1990s we began sharing the world of the postal museum with the even larger audience of the internet, launching our first website.
In the interests of history, I am taking this opportunity to share some images from the earliest days of the museum, when it existed only in our minds and on designer’s pads. In order to help people understand the vision of the museum’s exhibits, designers produced a variety of materials, including a large white scale model of the building and exhibits that each represented our latest thinking as exhibits developed. As you will see, a few designs were realized “as is” but many were tweaked here and there as the creation processes progressed.
About the Author
Nancy A. Pope, a Smithsonian Institution curator and founding historian of the National Postal Museum, has worked with the items in this collection since joining the Smithsonian Institution in 1984. In 1993 she curated the opening exhibitions for the National Postal Museum. Since then, she has curated several additional exhibitions. Nancy led the project team that built the National Postal Museum's first website in 2002. She also created the museum's earliest social media presence in 2007.