There is nothing I love more than strolling through the exhibits in a museum. The historical artifacts provide interesting glimpses into the lives of those who have come before us. Whenever I am in Washington, D.C., I always make a point to visit the National Postal Museum. As part of the Smithsonian Institute, the museum is completely free to guests, and it maintains the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery, the largest philatelic gallery in the world. More than 20,000 objects are on display in the stamp gallery alone, but the latest exhibit on the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is what has got my eye. This exhibit spotlights the people who make sure there aren’t any threats among the graduation announcements and sympathy cards sent through the U.S. mail.
The William H. Gross Stamp Gallery
Named after the collection’s primary benefactor, the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery is the international headquarters of philately. One of my favorite parts of the gallery is the Gems of American Philately permanent exhibit. This section includes some of the rarest stamps from America’s history, stretching all the way back to 1765. Some standout pieces from early American history are a red proof of the stamp that was created by the Stamp Act and a hand-stamped letter to John Hancock dated July 4, 1776. But perhaps the most exciting stamp on display in the gallery is the Inverted Jenny. One of the most famous misprints in the world, this stamp features an upside-down blue plane and a red frame. Only one sheet was sold in 1918, making Inverted Jennys some of the rarest stamps in existence. All in all, the Gems of American Philately exhibit at the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery is not to be missed.
Behind the Badge
The National Postal Museum just opened its newest exhibit that chronicles the history of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The exhibit, titled “Behind the Badge,” highlights the work of the vast network of inspectors that fights to keep mail safe. The exhibit not only includes information about historical cases that have involved the agency, but also teaches visitors about the many skills and methods inspectors use to identify and neutralize threats. One part of the exhibit I am really looking forward to is the display mobile unit. This truck contains all the materials an inspector would need to identify and neutralize any threats in the field. This is truly unique opportunity to learn about the group of men and women that are keeping your Christmas cards and birthday invitations safe.