USA DIARY ————————————————SUDHIR JAIN
I had recently visited National Postal Museum at Washington (address – National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20002). It is located in the old Post Office building next to Union Station in Washington, D.C.The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except 25th December and admission is free. This museum is dedicated to the history of the United States Postal Service. It’s hard to recall, but there was once a time when sending a letter was the only way of communicating with those in distant places. The museum covers the history of the letter from post-Revolutionary America through the present.
Actually the National Museum was started long back in a small building known as the Arts & Industries building which lather on had developed in a big way. The present Museum was inaugurated in the year 1993.
The national collection grew slowly until 1911, when the Post Office Department began to transfer more than 200,000 stamps and postal operations artefacts. To organize this acquisition, the Smithsonian hired Joseph Leavy as the first curator. By 1914, Leavy had placed more than 14,000 stamps on display. The national collection has benefited greatly from transfers from the Post Office Department and, since 1971, the United States Postal Services, other government agencies, including the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Internal Revenue Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Library of Congress have also transferred significant material. In addition, many individual collectors have donated rare material and highly specialised collections, creating the depth and quality that make our holdings a national treasure.
Due to shortage of time I could see only a part of the Museum. Some galleries I visited are -Old letterboxes and Sea Post service mailbags, Colonial postal road maps, tax stamps and hand stamps, Female letter carrier uniforms, Some rare inverted stamps including 24 of the 100 original 24-cent 1918 inverted airmail stamp, Some rare items such as Abraham Lincoln Certified Plate Proofs and Some old cartoons related to the Postal Department.