Historic Lobby

From Post Office to Postal Museum

Washington, D.C.'s Main Post Office
For 72 years this historic building was the main post office of the District of Columbia.

Historic Lobby, 2013
Historic Lobby and the museum's Information Desk (right), 2013.
Above: Historic Lobby and the museum's Information Desk (right), 2013.

Historic Lobby Virtual Tour »

Since 1993 this building has housed the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. Before that, it was the Washington City Post Office, built next to Union Station to speed the movement of incoming and outgoing mail.

Historic Lobby, 1970s.
Historic Lobby, 1970s.
Above: Historic Lobby, 1970s.

Picture the lobby filled with people buying stamps, checking mailboxes, and socializing—in a time when mail was the primary means of communication.

Men sorting mail in lower level, 1900s.
Men sorting mail in lower level, 1900s.
Above: Men sorting mail in lower level, 1900s.

The lower level once bustled with Washington, D.C. postal workers sorting mail for local delivery.

Museum collection storage vault in lower level, 2013.
Museum collection storage vault in lower level, 2013.
Above: Museum collection storage vault in lower level, 2013.

Today, much of the museum's vast collection is housed in the lower level.

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