April 2, 2010
Postal Artifacts, on Display and In Use
It's Spring in Washington! And that means cherry blossoms and beautiful weather, both of which I spent the entire afternoon, yesterday, enjoying. While waiting for a friend to join me on the National Mall, I stopped into the Smithsonian Castle. The original home of the Smithsonian institution, the Castle now functions as a giant information desk for the network of museums, hosting small displays of items that represent the many museums in the area. Of course, the two items that drew my eye were those representing the National Postal Museum.
Originally used for mail collection in 1885, this charming lamppost letter box now sits just inside the side entrance on the front side of the Smithsonian Castle. It is mounted on a large plaque that informs the visitor about it's origins, and, it collects mail. If you're in the area and really need to send a post card, mail is collected twice daily.
Further inside the Castle I found this antique mail box. And I do mean mail box, in the most literal sense of the word. According to the placard, the tin can mailbox was used around 1950 in Hawai'i. Contents were soldered shut for delivery from boat to boat, or boat to shore. Unlike the above lamppost letter box, this tin can has been decommissioned and now resides behind glass.