National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

Sometimes in the winter, Natalie will have a couple of basketball games on a Saturday, plus an indoor soccer game. Such a busy Saturday schedule doesn’t give us a lot of time to do fun family things, unless I’m super organized, and happen to be driving the car when a game is over. If I’m in the driver’s seat (literally), I take advantage of the opportunity and steer the car right into DC, instead of towards home—promising, of course, that we’ll be just a couple of hours, and back in time for the next game.

That’s exactly what I did last Saturday. After Natalie’s basketball game, I was driving, Sterling was working on his laptop and Natalie was reading in the back seat, so I just drove into DC. My destination was the National Postal Museum, which I hadn’t been to in years.

An exhibit in the National Postal Museum

An exhibit in the National Postal Museum

We parked in the Capitol Sergeant at Arms (SAA) lot, which is in front of the Capitol facing the Mall. Although we don’t have an SAA permit, it is perfectly fine to park there on the weekends (we once again checked with a policeman nearby—if you’re worried about parking there, just double check with a policeman usually stationed nearby). We then walked a couple of blocks to the Museum.

When we entered the Museum, I have to admit that I didn’t even recognize it—it has changed quite a bit since I was there the last time!

Owney the mail dog

One of the few things I remembered from past visits–Owney, the mail dog, and his story

When you enter the Museum, you will be on Level 2. After going through security, I’d recommend visiting the information desk, which is usually my first stop in any museum. At the information desk, they have a treasure trove of activities. There’s a “National Postal Museum’s Scavenger Hunt”, a “Love & Other Disasters Scavenger Hunt” and “10 Things to Check out with your Child @ the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum”. I love how museums are getting so family friendly with different resources!

Exhibit in National Postal Museum

On one of the scavenger hunts, you had to count the modes of transportation used to deliver the mail in this exhibit

We picked up a copy of every one of these activity sheets and used them as our guide to help us explore the Museum. One nice thing about the Postal Museum is that it isn’t quite as big as some of the other Smithsonian Museums, which definitely makes it less overwhelming.

Per the suggestion of the woman at the information desk, we started our visit on Level 1. After looking around in the big lobby area on Level 1 and visiting the “Moving the Mail” exhibit, we next went through the “Binding the Nation” exhibit. We followed other exhibits around from there to wrap up our visit of Level 1.

Lobby area of Postal Museum

Lobby area on Level 1 of the Postal Museum

After enjoying exhibits on Level 1, we went up to Level 2 to visit the Stamp Gallery. That was a pretty cool place where Natalie was able to design her own stamp on the computer, and then she was able to email it to herself and her sisters in Utah. They loved it!

Natalie designing her own stamp

Natalie designing her own stamp

So, what is my favorite part of the National Postal Museum? Instead of picking one exhibit, I’d have to say I really loved all of the interactive activities. Even Natalie, who’s 13, had fun with the activities, and I can see how younger kids would too. To be honest, Sterling and I even had fun with the activities. From sorting packages,

Sorting the mail

Sorting the mail into bins

to trying to find the best route to send the mail,

Finding the best mail routes

Racing against others to find the best mail routes

to zip code racing,

Zip code challenge

The zip code challenge

to creating your own stamp and starting a stamp collection—not many museums are this interactive, and I thought it was great!

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