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.
Saturday, March 10 & Sunday, March 11, 2018
11 am - 4 pm (both days)
The National Postal Museum cordially invites you to our Women’s History Month Family Day! Admission is free with no advance registration required. All ages are welcome.
In a fun and engaging setting, discover the various postal roles typically held by women over the last two centuries and get to know the stories of pioneers who broke the mold, such as the first female postmaster, Mary Katherine Goddard. Each visitor has the opportunity to embark on a topical scavenger hunt, which entails locating relevant museum objects and exhibitions, and stopping at activity stations scattered throughout the museum. Upon successful completion, participants can take home a National Postal Museum airplane, in the spirit of trailblazing pilot Amelia Earhart. In addition, through their participation in the scavenger hunt, Girl Scouts have the opportunity to earn their “Playing the Past” and “Detective” badges.
Activity Stations include but are not limited to:
Behind the Badge with USPS Postal Inspectors: In 1971, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service was among the first federal law enforcement agencies to hire women as agents; these days over 20% of the Inspection Service is female. Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms and are able to make arrests and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas. The National Postal Museum proudly welcomes female representatives from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; visitors will hear about the responsibilities of the job and familiarize themselves with bullet-proof vests, walkie-talkies and other equipment.
Dead Letter Office Challenge: Beginning in 1825, undeliverable mail without a return address was sent to the “Dead Letter Office.” Perhaps the receiving address was incorrect, or badly misspelled; it could even be a case of terrible handwriting! In the late 19th through early 20th century, women proved to be most successful in solving the Dead Letter Office puzzles and ensuring that the mystery mail ended up in the correct destination. Try to make sense of actual examples of “dead letters” and decipher the undecipherable in this popular game.
Historic Printing Press Demonstrations: Once the preferred method for printing stamps, inked metal plates run through a Spider Press could quickly create multiple, identical prints. A press team traditionally consisted of a “pressman” who inked the plate and turned the wheel of the press, and an assistant – usually a woman—who was in charge of laying and then removing the paper. Not only did the assistant have to keep their hands completely free of ink, they had to quickly and accurately place and pull the paper. Watch a demonstration of the process on a real 19th century printing press, print your own postcard, and learn about the challenges of the job.
Meet Amelia Earhart and Friends: “Amelia Earhart” will be onsite to regale crowds with tales of her fascinating life and accomplishments. A stamp collector herself, Earhart raised funds for her flights by carrying and autographing special letters that were sold as collectors’ items. Visitors can even check out one of Earhart’s original, custom-made flight suits which is on exhibit at the museum. “Amelia” will also turn into many other renowned women throughout history, such as Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, and Harriet Tubman. Witness the performer slide effortlessly from one impersonation to the other as she shares their personal stories.
Story Time: Join us for interactive readings of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s delightful book, “Eleanor and Amelia Go for a Ride,” which chronicles the real-life friendship of Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, both legendary women in their own right. Similarly ambitious and intelligent, the pilot and First Lady developed a close bond and supported each other’s endeavors and interests.
Women In Military Service Meet and Greet: In conjunction with the our newest exhibition, “In Her Words: Women’s Duty and Service in World War I,“ the museum also welcomes the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, with whom the exhibition was co-created. Hear all about the Foundation’s mission and current initiatives, discuss the lives of the four women featured in the exhibition, and read heartfelt letters from over 100 years ago.
This Women’s History Month, visit the National Postal Museum to learn all about notable women from the past through the present and reflect upon the meaningful contributions of these extraordinary individuals. Afterwards, stick around to explore the rest of the museum, “drive” a semi-truck, start a stamp collection, or even design your own postage stamp!
Visit the museum’s event calendar for information on the many fun and educational programs available at the National Postal Museum.