A Visit to the National Postal Museum (Part 1)

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We were in DC over the Labor Day weekend so we spent a few hours at the National Postal Museum. I was pleased to find out it is open 364 days a year (Christmas Day is the only day it’s closed) so we didn’t have to adjust our schedule at all. Rather than give a play by play of our visit, I will highlight in a few blog postings some of my favorite or most memorable parts of the visit.

I was carried away on a wave of nostalgia when I saw the wall of these old post office boxes. I grew up in a small town in North Dakota and remember getting the mail inside the local post office which was located on main street next to a cafe and two doors down from the movie theater.

We were PO Box 133 for many years- probably until my parents passed away. I remember the metal dial as shown below as well as the little window that offered just a glimpse to show you if your box held mail or not.

If you received a package that was too big for the mailbox, then you got a slip (just like today) telling you to go to the teller window to pick up your package.

I recall the first piece of mail I received. My godparents from Montana had sent me a small package for my birthday.  I was turning 5 or 6 years old and, boy, was I ecstatic to realize I could get a surprise like that out of the blue with no ceremony or fanfare- just a package wrapped in plain brown paper addressed to me. What was this wondrous thing called ‘mail’ and how could I get some more? And so it began.

My Visit Part 2

My Visit Part 3

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  1. JoniB on September 8, 2010 at 3:46 am

    I remember those mail boxes! No key, just a combination. Ours were letters instead of numbers. And the beautiful craftmanship… now they are just plain metal with no designs. No art – no soul.

  2. Jackie Flaherty on September 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm


    Yes! Ours were letters too. I had thought that seemed right, but when I looked at the numbers it seemed like it would be too much to fit all the letters in the dial radius, but it must have been just some letters- not all. Love those memories!


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