National Postal Museum | Washington, D.C.

They soared on biplanes, leaned out of speeding trains, ran steamboats through blockades, and charged horse-drawn coaches past armed robbers - all to deliver the mail. (museum brochure)

Where has the National Postal Museum been all my life? How have I passed this up on previous trips? This museum rocked. my. world. The way the museum portrays mail, mail carriers, the delivery process, etc. is outrageously charming and quirky.

One of my favorite moments was watching a video installation about the evolution of the transportation of mail (ie: horses, boats, planes, cars, etc.). The narrator explained that in the 1950s the USPS converted their delivery vehicles to jeeps returning from WWII. The jeeps were "proven machines, nimble, fast, and capable of withstanding weather and the unpredictable roads of both urban and suburban environments..." behind the narrator's baritone movie-trailer voice rolls archival footage of soldiers packed into jeeps off-roading riotously with machine guns in hand, mud splashing, huge grins on they're boyish faces as they intentionally made the ride as rough as possible. Hard core. And you thought it's just ValuPak coupons, electric bills, and magazines you never get around to reading.

I'm not a stamp collector and was surprised at how interested I was in the exhibit of stamps from all over the world. I was particularly interested in stamps from Pakistan, Iraq, Qatar, and some African countries. They're gorgeous. How can you not be intrigued by an exhibit titled "Trailblazers and Trendsetters: Art of the Stamp." Trailblazers. Right on, you rogues, you. I've decided that by the time I die I will serve on the Citizens Stamp Advisory Council. I wonder if I can nominate myself or if I need to lobby for a position? It's all who you know in this town.

The evolution of the envelope. The milestones of rural mail delivery related to the development of the interstate highways. A workshop titled: Poetry, Prose, and Postage, and an exhibit of Mail as Art. The museum boasts the largest and most comprehensive collection of philatelic materials in the world. There's our word of the day.

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