National Postal Museum
Postal Square Building.jpg
National Postal Museum is located in Central Washington, D.C.
National Postal Museum
Location within Washington, D.C.
National Postal Museum is located in the United States
National Postal Museum
National Postal Museum (the United States)
EstablishedJuly 30, 1993 (1993-07-30)
LocationPostal Square Building
Washington, D.C.
Coordinates38°53′53″N 77°00′30″W / 38.898°N 77.0083°W / 38.898; -77.0083Coordinates: 38°53′53″N 77°00′30″W / 38.898°N 77.0083°W / 38.898; -77.0083
DirectorElliot Gruber[1]
Public transit accessWMATA Metro Logo.svg WMATA Red.svg at Union Station
Amtrak/MARC/VRE at Union Station

The National Postal Museum, located opposite Union Station in Washington, D.C., United States, was established through joint agreement between the United States Postal Service and the Smithsonian Institution and opened in 1993.


The museum is located across the street from Union Station, in the building that once served as the main post office of Washington, D.C. from 1914, when it was constructed, until 1986. The building was designed by the Graham and Burnham architectural firm, which was led by Ernest Graham following the death of Daniel Burnham in 1912.[2]

The building in which the museum is housed also serves as the headquarters of the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as a data center for the United States Senate.


The museum stores the National Philatelic Collection and also hosts many interactive displays about the history of the United States Postal Service and of mail service around the world. The museum houses a gift shop and a United States Postal Service philatelic sales window, along with exhibits on the Pony Express, the use of railroads with the mail, the preserved remains of Owney (the first unofficial postal mascot), and an exhibit on direct marketing called, "What's in the Mail for You," that produces a souvenir envelope with a visitor's name printed on it and a coupon for the gift shop. As a Smithsonian museum, admission is free. This museum also houses a library.[3]

In 2005, the museum acquired John Lennon's childhood stamp collection.[4] From June 2015 until December 2018 the museum displayed the 1856 British Guiana One-Cent Magenta, the world's most valuable stamp, which sold for nearly $10 million.[5]

In September 2009, the museum received an $8 million gift from investment firm founder William H. Gross to help finance an expansion project. The museum now hosts the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery named in his honor.[6]


Since 2002, the museum has presented the Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award every two years.


See also


  1. ^ "Meet our staff". National Postal Museum. Retrieved 2017-10-08.
  2. ^ Weeks, Christopher. (1994) AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C. (3rd Edition), Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4713-3.
  3. ^ "Museum library".
  4. ^ John Lennon's First Album. Owen Edwards,, September 2005. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "William H. Gross Stamp Gallery". National Postal Museum. Retrieved 2013-10-02.

External links

  • National Postal Museum official website
  • National Postal Museum Library Official website
  • Smithsonian's National Postal Museum at Google Cultural Institute
  • Arago: People, Postage & the Post