Postal Progress

Wagon filled with package under stone arch reading Post Office.Postal History

In the majestic collection of Smithsonian Museums, there is the often-overlooked National Postal Museum. The National Postal Museum features the history of our Postal System. Potential visitors may not feel the same level of enthusiasm as for the visiting, say, the National Air and Space Museum, but it is well worth the trip. For much of the history of America, letters were the only way to communicate over a long distance. The development of a reliable postal system allowed a mobile population to stay in contact with loved ones. Focusing on letters and the mail system produces an excellent series of exhibits that showcase changes in American life. As technology advanced, so to did the method of delivering mail. For instance, the industrial revolution can be seen through the postal system, as carriers changed from horse and buggy to train, or deployed mail cars in cities.

Other Features

Statue of a postal worker standing in front of a mail box and mail truck.

Of course, the National Postal Museum also has a passion for philately, i.e. stamp collecting. The upstairs houses a boggling amount of stamps on pull-out shelves. Downstairs, you can view John Lennon’s childhood stamp book. What really sets the National Postal Museum apart, though, is the level of interaction. The cab of a mail truck, for instance, is open so children (or adults) can climb in and push the buttons. Several of the exhibits are designed to be touched as well as moved. This makes the space ideal for small children. Additionally, since there is relatively low foot-traffic, there is plenty of space to roam without getting lost.

Location and Hours

The museum is open from 10 am to 5:30 pm.  It is located right next to Union Station, so visitors will have ample food and shopping options, as well as easy metro access.

Both Union Station and our quaint bed and breakfast near Dupont Circle are located on the red line. Consider staying at our unique DC inn, the American Guest House, on your next DC vacation.