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It's Collections Care Thursday! Today the collections, curatorial and exhibit staff took part in a lunch-time webinar about the impact of portable fire extinguishers on collections. There is ongoing research in the field, but utilizing a combination of smoke detection, closed metal cabinets and sprinklers can greatly aid in the mitigation of destruction from fire and soot. Now we're better...
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One of the most sobering items in the National Postal Museum’s collection is one of the smallest. It is a simple registration mail handstamp that was used to mark the date a mail piece was received and processed. What makes this ordinary piece striking are the date on the stamp—“Dec. 6 1941”—and where it was used—aboard the USS Oklahoma. The handstamp was recovered from the Oklahoma after it...
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It's Collections Care Thursday! Preservation staff members are working to rehouse the 25 volume Puttkammer stamp collection. Ernst Puttkammer donated his Germany collection to the Smithsonian in 1975, and it is now getting a little TLC! Preservation specialists are stabilizing any loose artifacts, interweaving archival tissue to reduce acidity, and, in some instances, creating new albums and...
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As we end November, National American Indian Heritage Month, we'd like to share with you a postal mural from a virtual exhibit we co-sponsored with Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, "Indians at the Post Office: Native Themes in New Deal-Era Murals." The post office murals highlighted in this exhibit, all of which were commissioned by the New Deal's Section of Fine Arts...
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Celebrate #GivingTuesday by supporting your favorite museum: The National Postal Museum!

There are many reasons to give to the National Postal Museum. Perhaps you love to experience postal history up close in exhibitions like “Trailblazing: 100 Years of Our National Parks” and “New York City: A Portrait Through Stamp Art.” Or maybe you’re a DC local who loves our public lectures and...
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Early airmail pilot Max Miller wrote this note to Benjamin Lipsner, Superintendent of Airmail Service, on November 28, 1918. In his note, Miller references an American flag that Lipsner had given him to commemorate some of the Post Office Department’s airmail flights. Miller had carried the flag with him in his plane during five flights. The note says, “Here is hoping this little flag will...
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Happy Collections Care Thursday! Collections staff are off celebrating Thanksgiving with their friends and families today, but yesterday they came together to accomplish two very important tasks: cleaning the postal vehicles in the atrium, and participating in the National Postal Museum's #MannequinChallenge! Owney The Railway Mail Dog impressed everyone by holding still the longest! ;)
To all who are celebrating today, Happy Thanksgiving! We are very thankful for all of you! :)
During a cholera outbreak in Europe in 1848, this letter was specially processed in an attempt to avoid spreading the disease. The letter was mailed from Venice on November 19, 1848, and before being delivered in Bologna (a separate country in 1848, before the unification of Italy) it was disinfected at the border. The addressee's name has been nearly obliterated using a chemical wipe, which...
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During the Franco-Prussian War's Siege of Paris mail was carried out of the besieged city by hot air balloon. This letter was carried on the balloon "Le General Ulrich," which left Paris at 8 am on November 18, 1870. A wind change blew the balloon off course and almost back into Paris. Before the Germans could reach the downed craft, French civilians managed to smuggle it, the pilot and...
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This Collections Care Thursday, let's talk about tracking objects! At the National Postal Museum, we use a complex (and expensive!) inter-relational database to track our collections. This helps us search for objects based on date, description, catalogue number or location.

You don’t have to have a complicated database to track similar information with your own collection: a spreadsheet with...
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We all know that Benjamin Franklin was the first U.S. Postmaster General, but did you know that he was also a philanthropist? In 1727 Franklin and a group of friends organized the charitable Junto Club, and Franklin also donated half the funds needed for the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

If you’re looking for a way to honor Benjamin Franklin’s spirit of philanthropy, consider a...
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On November 15, 1979, American Airlines Flight 444 was en route from Chicago O'Hare to Washington National. 30 minutes into the flight a mail bomb hidden in a wooden box in the cargo hold ignited. The bomb was built by Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, and this was his first attack to be investigated by the FBI.

This cover is a piece of commercial mail that was part of the mail...
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We're honoring our nation's veterans today! Thank you, veterans, for your service! #VeteransDay
It's Collections Care Thursday! Preservation and Exhibitions staff recently installed the inaugural exhibit in our new cases, located in the Benjamin Franklin foyer. These cases were designed with adjustable lighting and environmental seals to preserve the objects while they are on display. They are a great combination of beauty and function so our visitors can enjoy the objects to their...
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If you're in the U.S., it's finally #ElectionDay! We don't use boxes like these to vote anymore, but casting a free ballot? That's still a root of democracy. #Vote
It's Collections Care Thursday! This Post Office Department cap was once worn as a disguise during a mail truck heist in Plymouth Massachusetts in 1962. The cap was previously on display in our Behind the Badge exhibit ([ Postalmuseum.si.edu Link ], and now needs a protective box made for its relocation to collection storage.

Because the shape is bigger than most of our stamps, a...
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