The national collection illustrates and invites research into United States philately and postal operations. It contains prestigious postal issues and specialized collections, archival postal documents and three-dimensional objects that trace the evolution of the postal services.
The National Postal Museum is divided into galleries that explore America's postal history from colonial times to the present. Visitors learn how mail has been transported and the wondrous diversity of postage stamps.
The Museum supports a wide variety of interdisciplinary research projects which address topics of importance such as current and future postal operations, as well as philatelic and postal history. Our efforts are a resource and point of reference for research and wider investigation by historians throughout the United States and the world.
Arago Researchers and the National Postal Museum staff create unique exhibits that juxtapose personal selections of museum objects and exceptional private collections to present interesting interpretations and great history.
“American’s Mailing Industry” explores the 200 year-old partnership between private industry and the United States Postal Service, who together provide efficient and effective communication and commerce channels to consumers and businesses across the United States and the world. Stories of “America’s Mailing Industry” focus on how companies, entrepreneurs and multi-generational family businesses – in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service – helped to enhance and grow the commerce and communications channels in the United States. Inventors and innovators will be explored and showcased from all major components of the industry.
Objects displayed in the museum's various exhibits document the history of the U.S. postal service and showcase the beauty and lore of stamps. Thousands of objects are on display in the museum, each offering visitors a chance to see "the real thing."
Organizations such as the National Grange, the National Farmers’ Congress and State Farmers’ Alliance were all pushing for a free rural delivery system by the early 1890s. The struggle pitted farmer and rural associations against some Members of Congress who feared providing free delivery for the nation’s still rural-based population would be too expensive.
From the early colonial period to the present day, American artists have captured their interpretation of the American experience using different forms of art. These pieces of fine art have been adapted to portray famous American individuals, events, and geography on postage stamps. Postage stamps depicting fine art have become another looking glass into this country and its many themes.
Historic American Indian leaders honored here on postage stamps, exemplify a wide range of reaction to the radical confrontations that would drastically affect the traditions and culture of their peoples. Some chose resistance and war; others chose a path of adaptation and accommodation to a new way of life. In all cases, these leaders of nations were elder representatives of huge extended families, and their commitment to future generations was paramount.
Since the founding of the United States, African Americans have played a pivotal role in the shaping of American history and heritage. Their contributions to America have included the fields highlighted by the 1940 Famous Americans and many more. This exhibit showcases the black experience in the United States through the lens of American postage stamps.
Stamps illuminate what we value as a people and a culture, and the National Postal Museum’s Celebrating Hispanic Heritage: People, Places and Events on Stamps sheds new light on the many contributions of Hispanic Americans and Latinos to the exploration, culture, growth, and defense of the United States. The virtual exhibit is bilingual (English and Spanish/Español).
Beginning with the Pacific Islands and ending with the nations on the Pacific Rim, this exhibition highlights the political and cultural relationship between these nations and the United States through the medium of postage stamps.
This virtual exhibit is the first in a series of four focusing on the accomplishments of women featured on stamps. In Women on Stamps: Part 1, we acknowledge the efforts of pioneering women and early government leaders who entered previously unexplored territories - from the frontier to the Senate floor.
This virtual exhibit is the second in a series of four focusing on the accomplishments of women featured on stamps. In Women on Stamps: Part 2, we feature women who pioneered in the fields of health, science, education, philanthropy, aviation and athletics.
This virtual exhibit is the third in a series of four focusing on the accomplishments of women featured on stamps. In Women on Stamps: Part 3, we feature women who have made significant contributions to the visual arts and literature.
This virtual exhibit is the fourth in a series of four focusing on the accomplishments of women featured on stamps. In Women on Stamps: Part 4, we feature women who have made significant contributions to the performing arts.
Political leaders purposefully use print culture to promote political agendas, solidify authority, and fire patriotic emotions. The stamps issued by Mexico after its 1910-1920 revolution offer a compelling example. Among the postage stamps issued for this purpose, Mexico's airmail stamps played a significant role. The virtual exhibit is bilingual (English and Spanish/Español) and features both stamps and mail of Mexico.
The “People and the Post” site collects and publishes stories from current and former employees of the U.S. Postal Service (formerly the Post Office Department). The media-rich memory book offers 15 story categories for employees to choose from when leaving their stories, and it allows individuals to leave and supplement their memories with text, video, audio and photographs.
This virtual exhibit is presented by both the National Postal Museum and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs. It shows one of the three best museum Russian stamp collections in the world.
Learn how the U.S. Post Office Department created the framework for America's commercial aviation industry. From 1918-1926, a few daredevil pilots and some aging aircraft made history and bound the country together by air.
Explore Cuba's postal and aviation history in an ongoing research and exhibition effort to study and bring to the public an important research resource for the cultural history of Cuba, the Roberto Pichs collection of Cuban postage stamps.
Collecting stamps of your family’s ancestral homelands offers insights into your own family’s past and experiences, and so they teach you something about your own heritage. Collectors share their stories here, just click the stamps to learn more.
Fifty years ago, the US Navy and Post Office Department placed 3,000 letters in a missile on board the USS Barbero submarine and aimed it at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station at Mayport, Florida. In this slideshow presentation, curator Nancy A. Pope reveals more about this Cold War era mail delivery experiment.
Parcel post service began on January 1, 1913 and was an instant success. During the first five days of service, 1,594 post offices reported handling over 4 million parcel post packages. The effect on the national economy was electric.
In the early days of philately, rumors circulated about a cache of very rare and valuable Hawaiian missionary stamps secreted away in New England. Were the Grinnell stamps this legendary hoard? Or were they expensive fakes?