Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Smithsonian National Postal Museum

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum is dedicated to the preservation, study and presentation of postal history and philately. The museum uses exhibits, educational public programs and research to make this rich history available to scholars, philatelists, collectors and visitors from around the world.

A joint effort between the United States Postal Service and the Smithsonian Institute, the National Postal Museum is one of the most unique museums in all of D.C.

Located across from Union Station, this museum first opened in 1993, though the building it is housed in opened in 1914, serving as the Washington D.C Post Office from then until 1986. The 100,000 square feet of museum and exhibit space holds various collections and exhibits that explore the history of the United States Postal service, from colonial times to today. This is one of the largest and most significant philatelic (dealing with stamps) and postal history collections in the world! Here are some of the most popular permanent exhibits you will see during your visit:

  • Stamps Around the Globe 
  • Mail Call - Military Mail
  • Pony Express - Romance vs Realty
  • Airmail in America
  • Moving the Mail 

See all of these on a docent-led tour, self-guided tour, or school or group customizable tour. Be sure to save plenty of time to explore the Museum Atrium, the astounding 90-foot tall space holding airmail planes from the ceiling, as well as other transportation models from history like the 1931 Ford Model A Postal Truck.  You will also have the opportunity to 'walk along a Colonial post road, ride with the mail in a stagecoach, browse through a small town post office from the 1920s, receive free stamps to start a collection and more.'

Check out this fun bonus activity for kids from the museum!
10 Fun Things to Do With Kids