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Smithsonian National Postal Museum Streetview

Have you ever been to a Postal Museum? If not, well, there’s never been a better time to start — if only from your own home!

We’ve been looking into Google Arts & Culture, and we’ve discovered that you can use it to visit places like the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, in Washington DC, and then hop straight over to the UK’s Postal Museum in London, no air travel needed!

It’s not just that you can walk around these museums via Google’s Streetview, although that’s kind of cool as well. Depending on the museum, there are also “Stories” and collections, showcasing some of the museum’s exhibitions and holdings. For example, the Museum for Communication Frankfurt has an exhibition on the birth of express mail! Check out the sealed watch which the mail-carriers had to take with them, to prove they were delivering the mail on time:

Sealed watch
Pocket watch used on the mail coach service, with lockable case, Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation

In a similar vein to our previous post about the lost letters of the Brienne archive, we found an online exhibition from the Postal Museum in London on 717 letters found aboard a sunken ship, the Gairsoppa! They’ve recovered 19 bundles of undelivered letters from the ship including old Christmas cards! Wonder if there were any postcards on board…

Christmas card from the Gairsoppa, The Postal Museum

If you’re interested in stamps, there’s always the Smithsonian’s Women on Stamps exhibitions, or Amelia Earhart’s stamp collection… Or how about a collection of love letters from the Mexican Archivo General de la Nación?

And of course, they have all kinds of other museums — art museums, exhibitions on Mayan graffiti, natural history collections… I think I have to say the Gairsoppa story is my favourite, so far.

Have a look, and if you find other interesting virtual exhibitions that we should check out, let us know in the comments below! 😊

17 comments so far

greenskull, Russia
I ❤❤❤ Postcrossing!
Mosshumla, Sweden
I often visit the Postmuseum in Stockholm, to buy stamps, or to get some nice first day cancellations whenever new stamps are issued.
Jarmo, Sweden
The Postmuseum in Stockholm is the museum I visit several times every week to send my postcards and letters. They have special postmarks that are very popular to get on the cards, especially the one with the doves.
Also a lot of stamps and other items for senders.
Gen24, United States of America
Love this! Thank you Postcrossing! A great gift to keep us busy. <3
Jacque53, United States of America
This is sooo cool! I have been wanting to see the Postal Museum in Washington D.C. for quite awhile, so now I can at least take a virtual tour of it! Thanks Postcrossing!
livewire, United States of America
Some DC locals from Virginia and Maryland visited the Smithsonian Postal Museum a couple years ago! We had a great time meeting up and sending out postcards to people around the US!
Candy1211, Hong Kong
In the past, I was busy with work and did not have time to do what I liked. Now if I have time, I will pay special attention to postal matters. After I have participated in 3 postcrossing.Also begun to look for and buy favorite postcards.
Talal90Ahmed, Iraq
great and cool -
stargazer-daisy, United Kingdom
Love your ideas. I'll be taking a look at your suggestions. I used to have a book on the history of postcards, sadly no longer.
saikat_das, India
hobbymail, United States of America
after I visited the Smithsonian Postal Museum I added the recommendation to my Profile. Thank you for adding this Opportunity to see others.
NIDUSKA, Finland
really nice
CardTrekkie, United States of America
I've been to the Smithsonian Postal Museum many times, often buy current stamps there. It is right next to Union Station in DC, a main train station and used to have tunnels connecting the post office to the train station. It is now mostly a museum with a small post office in the lower level, all mail delivered by plane or truck in the US. They have some postcards of the museum from drawings and a special stamp postcard. The first card I sent on Postcrossing is a picture of the Smithsonian Postal Museum!
josephvm, India
thanks for sharing this. :)
Flippie, Canada
Thank you for sharing al the info, I like it!
I remember my first visit to "Harry Potter world" in Universal Studios in Orlando that you can buy single/ souvenir postcards from Harry Potter and that you can let them stamp in there Hogward post-office.
-(only now it's closed)- but think about it for future visits.
DavidF, United States of America
The Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History on the campus of Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, presents a mix of permanent and changing exhibits. It has a philatelic library and hosts the regular meetings of several philatelic organizations. I enjoy spending time there learning more about the world of stamps.
ned44440, Ireland
I took some very nice virtual tours. Thank you very much for sharing.