The National Postal Museum opened in 1993 on the bottom floor of the old D.C. City Post Office building located at #2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E. adjacent to Union Station. It is run by the Smithsonian Institution and admission is free of charge as with all of the Smithsonian museums.
All D.C. Metro trains as well as Amtrak and commuter rails stop at Union Station making the museum extremely accessible to public transportation. Visitors can exit the Metro using the Massachusetts Avenue escalator and will reach street level directly across this Avenue from the building.
The building served as the Post Office from 1914 until 1986. 23,000 sq. ft. of space serves for the five galleries that make up this museum that recounts the history of the U.S. postal service.
Upon entering the building an elevator takes visitors to the museum, letting one off in a large atrium with antique airmail planes suspended overhead.
The museum is home to one of the planet's largest collection of stamps and stamp related materials which the Smithsonian began collecting in the year 1886.
Permanent exhibits include the documentation of and artifacts from the start of the postal service prior to the revolutionary war, up to stage coach mail delivery and the Pony Express.
Another one of the permanent exhibits delves into the technological advances in the history of postal services.
The "What's In the Mail for You?'' section looks at the use of direct mail, mail order and marketing by mail and includes films and interactive question and answer kiosks.
The National Postal Museum has several guided tours designed for students and are geared toward two age ranges. Some are tailored to pre-school and kindergarten students while some are aimed at 4th-8thgraders.
Guided tours for adult visitors are also available and should be arranged in advance for groups of 10 people and upwards. Walk-in tours are available as time permits but self-guided tour maps with highlight information are also available. The museum also has audio-taped gallery guides.
Symposiums and lectures are also sponsored by the museum on postal related themes and this museum boasts one of the world's biggest research libraries of literature related to postal topics and stamp collecting.
The building and its restrooms are wheelchair accessible and sign language and oral interpreters can be provided with at least 3 weeks prior notice according to museum policy.
The National Postal Museum is open to the public seven days a week from 10 AM to 5:30 PM while the library closes one hour earlier and is only open on Mondays through Fridays and is available to the general public by prior appointment. The Museum is only closed on December 25th.
Stamps that are not on display at any given time can be seen by scheduling a specific appointment.
The Museum rents meeting room space as well as exhibit space for after closing cocktail parties and other private events.