Big Draw

Bring your 3rd through 5th grade students to the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum to learn about how stamps are made and the significance of stamps in American culture.

Big Draw

Program Description

Did you know that every postage stamp issued by the United States Postal Service must meet very specific rules and regulations regarding the design? And did you know that any person can submit a design for production approval? In Big Draw, your students will explore these ideas and more as they are introduced to the civics behind stamp design approval and the graphic design skills stamp artists employ when creating a new stamp.

After an introduction on the process of stamp design submission and approval, students will explore the different stories a single stamp can tell. Then, students will have a chance to use what they’ve learned as they create their very own stamp design. This program also includes a gallery highlights tour, led by museum educators, where students can learn more about the US Postal Service, and the journey a single stamp can take.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is this program right for my students?

  • Grade Level
    This program is designed for students in third through fifth grade. We can accommodate a maximum of two grade levels for a registered program, e.g. grades 1 and 2. We cannot accommodate a request for more than two grade levels, e.g. 4th-8th or kindergarten-4th. If your group is mixed grade levels more than two grades apart, please reach out to NPMEducation@si.edu to discuss a custom program.
  • Homeschool Groups
    We are pleased to be able to offer our student programs to homeschool groups as well as to traditional schools. Home-school groups must fit the same criteria as traditional school groups. Please consult the guidelines on this page to determine whether your homeschool group meets the requirements.
  • Number of students
    The minimum number of students we can accommodate for this program is 10. The maximum number of students we can accommodate for this program is 30. If you would like to bring more than the maximum number, please schedule multiple times and/or dates for your visit.
  • Dates and Times
    This in person program is offered Tuesdays through Fridays at 10:30am. Special requests for dates and times outside of our regularly scheduled programs are considered on a case-by-case basis. The National Postal Museum has the right to cancel or alter the program if your group is more than 20 minutes late. All programs will end at the designated time.
  • Program Duration
    This program is 90 minutes long.
  • Chaperones
    Adult chaperones are required for all student programs. Chaperones must remain with groups for the duration of the program. Failure to provide an adequate number of chaperones may result in the cancellation of a program. Due to space and safety concerns, excessive numbers of chaperones may not be able to participate in the program. The ratio of adults to students is as follows:
    • Grades Pk-3: one adult per 5-8 students
    • Grades 4-6: one adult per 10-12 students
    • Grades 7-12: one adult per 15 students
  • Arrival at the Museum
    Entry into any Smithsonian Museum requires security screening. In order to ensure a prompt program, start, please aim to arrive 15 minutes in advance of the program start time. Please communicate to all chaperones and students that they will be subject to screening prior to their visit.
  • Food and Drink
    The National Postal Museum does not sell any food or snacks. The Museum has limited eating space available for those that bring their lunches with them. Arrangements to eat on premises must be made with the Student and Teacher Programs Manager in advance of your visit. The Museum can hold backpacks and bag lunches throughout the duration of the program. The museum cannot guarantee space to eat for groups who do not arrange to eat on premises in advance. A small, designated eating area is available to the public during museum hours.
  • Inclement weather
    If your school is closed or on a two-hour delay, or if the federal government is closed or on a delayed opening, your program will be cancelled. The Museum will attempt to reschedule weather-related cancellations when possible.
  • Cancellations
    If you need to cancel or reschedule a student program, please email the Student and Teacher Programs Manager at NPMEducation@si.edu at least one week prior to the scheduled program. Please be aware that we may not be able to accommodate rescheduling requests because student programs fill up quickly. No-shows and/or frequent last-minute cancellations may result in the inability to reserve a guided program for your student group for the remainder of the academic year.

Request a Reservation!

Guided student programs at the National Postal Museum will be on hold from June to August 2024. Reservations will reopen in August 2024, and programs for the 2024-2025 academic year will begin in September 2024. For inquiries, contact NPMEducation@si.edu.

You can request a reservation by submitting the registration form, linked below. Please be advised that submitting a registration form is only a request. Written confirmation (via email) from the museum constitutes a booking guarantee. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address provided on the form within one business week. Questions regarding your registration request should be directed to NPMEducation@si.edu.

Registration