Rights and Reproductions

The National Postal Museum is committed to making its collections accessible and available to researchers, publishers, and the general public in support of scholarship, education, and personal enrichment.

High-resolution digital images of many objects in our collection can be downloaded for nonprofit, commercial, and/or personal use. Images meeting the criteria for such use are marked with the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation, and are available for download on the National Postal Museum website.

Images that do not meet the criteria for a CC0 designation may still be downloaded from the National Postal Museum website for personal or classroom use, without written permission, within the meaning of the principles of “fair use.” Please visit the Smithsonian Institutions Terms of Use for more information about allowable uses.

In keeping with the Smithsonian’s move toward an open access policy for its digital images, the National Postal Museum does not charge for the use of any digital images. Fees may still be required for additional services related to digital imaging, e.g. generating new or higher resolution images to meet a user’s need. Such fees are determined on a case by case basis.

The museum requests a complimentary copy of publications in which museum images are published. The museum requests that its digital assets be used with full attribution to the National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Museum website text can be used without cost. The museum, however, does request that the text be used with full attribution given to the National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Please Note

Permission to use copyrighted material (photographs/designs/artwork/etc.) does not automatically transfer with your order if copyright is held by another institution. For example, some photographs on the museum website are copyrighted by the Library of Congress or other institutions. Before using those images, permission should be obtained from the appropriate institution.

U.S. Stamp Images

The United States Postal Service’s policy is that formal, written permission is not required to use stamp images that were issued prior to January 1, 1979.

When using pre-1979 stamps you must still follow the reproduction guidelines which are as follows:

Illustrations may be in color or in black and white, and may depict philatelic items as uncanceled or canceled. When depicting uncanceled items in color, illustrations must be less than 75% or more than 150% in linear dimension of the size of the design of the philatelic items as issued. Color illustrations of canceled philatelic items and black and white illustrations of uncanceled or canceled philatelic items may be in any size.

In many cases, particularly with older stamps including those released before 1979, the U.S. Postal Service does not have information about other potential third-party ownership interests. In these cases, you would be solely responsible for identifying and obtaining permission from any other third parties that may have an ownership interest in the image.

For additional information and to obtain image files please contact the U.S. Postal Service Licensing Department.

International Stamp Images

Permission for use of international stamp images (non-USA) should be obtained directly, before use, from the entity, or entities, to whom stamp copyright belongs.

Download Free Photographic Archives Images

View the museum's photo collection, People and the Post, on Flickr.com. The museum requests that National Postal Museum images be used with full attribution to National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

 

Term of Use

Materials from the National Postal Museum's website are subject to the Smithsonian Institution's Terms of Use.

Questions and other requests can be addressed to NPMImages@si.edu.