"American Artifacts: National Postal Museum" on C-SPAN3

Video screenshot of Cheryl Ganz in the stamp gallery
National Postal Museum director Allen Kane and curators Cheryl Ganz and Daniel Piazza talked about some of the rare stamps and pieces of mail in their collection. They also toured the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery.

The Spider Press

A silent video showing the Spider Press in operation.

World of Stamps »

Times of Adversity

This video is about the impact of the mail in times of trouble such as World War II, the San Francisco earthquake, 9/11 attacks, and Hurricane Katrina. It underscores how vital postal operations become when people’s ability to communicate is disrupted.

Mail Marks History »

Stamp Design

In this video two Illustrators, an art director, and curator discuss digital and traditional methods of modern stamp design.

The composition of a stamp must be strong and original, and the design has other special requirements. A stamp image should be simple but eye-catching and stand out from the background. The design must reduce well, leave space for letters and numbers, and be difficult to counterfeit. Some stamps show works of art, but the designer does not merely copy the artwork. Rather, the designer uses graphic elements from the art to create a new design that works as a stamp.

Stamp Production

This video traces the history of stamp production from nineteenth-century hand-operated presses to modern offset production with print runs in the billions.

Changes in technologies and available materials have affected the look of stamps—and will continue to do so. Today engraving is still used to produce some stamps, but sparingly because of its high cost. Other methods include photogravure, which “engraves” the metal plate using chemicals and light rather than tools. Offset lithography uses flexible rubber or aluminum plates, which are not engraved at all. These processes are easier and less expensive than engraving, and they produce more colorful images. The look of stamps will continue to evolve with technology.

Made possible by Richard C. Sennett

Stamp Collecting

This video is of stamp collectors, including youth, talking about what they collect and why.

Stamp collecting ranks among the world’s most popular hobbies. As many as 22 million people collect stamps in the United States alone. Stamp collectors represent all ages and walks of life. Some have very general collections; others focus on special topics. Most are intrigued by the diversity of people, places, and objects illustrated on stamps. They want to learn where and when stamp were issued, who designed them, how they were printed and used. To these collectors, stamps bring history to life. Most of all, people collect stamps because it is fun.

Connect with U.S. Stamps »

Apollo 15 Cover Cancellation

Historic footage of Apollo 15 commander Dave Scott canceling the Apollo 15 cover.

Transcript of Video:
Dave Scott: To show that our good Postal Service has deliveries any place in the universe, I have the pleasant task of canceling, here on the Moon, the first stamp of a new issue dedicated to commemorate United States achievements in space. And I'm sure a lot of people have seen pictures of the stamp. I have the first one here on an envelope. At the bottom it says, "United States in Space, a decade of achievement," and I'm very proud to have the opportunity here to play postman. I pull out a cancellation device. Cancel this stamp. It says, " August the second, 1971, first day of issue. What could be a better place to cancel this stamp than right here at Hadley Rille. By golly, it even works in a vacuum.

1971 Moon Mail »

William H. Gross Stamp Gallery Opening Gala Part 1 of 2

Video of the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery Opening Gala events, including remarks by Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough and William H. Gross, September 21, 2013.

William H. Gross Stamp Gallery Opening Gala Part 2 of 2

Video of the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery Opening Gala events, including remarks by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, September 21, 2013.

Medal of Honor Enshrinement Ceremony

Medal of Honor Enshrinement Ceremony at the National Postal Museum, September 22, 2013.

Medal of Honor Enshrined into the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery »

Exhibit-Related Videos

Stamps: An American Journey

Stamps: An American Journey

You see stamps every day but have you ever really looked at them? "Stamps: An American Journey" tells the surprising story of the journey of stamps from an idea, to art, to issued stamp. It features National Postal Museum Curator of Philately Cheryl Ganz. Thanks to The United States Postal Service for providing this exciting video.
Transcript of video »

Why Stamps Were Invented

Why Stamps Were Invented

This animated video, used for the National Postal Museum's Stamps and Stories gallery in 1993, offers a whimsical look at why stamps were created.

Printing Postage Stamps

Printing Postage Stamps

Want to know how stamps are printed? This video was created in 1993 for the Postal Museum's Stamps and Stories gallery. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) shut down its 111 years of printing postage stamps on June 10, 2005. U.S. stamps are now all printed by private contractors.