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.


Eliza Ward said...

Looks lovely! I'll be visiting DC in early June for a couple of days--is there anything in particular that you recommend going to see (other than the Postal Museum!)?

James said...

Yay for visiting DC! It's tough to make a recommendation without knowing what other interests you have aside from letter writing, so I'll list a few of my favorite sites.

The Museum of Natural History, their minerals collection is absolutely breathtaking.

The International Spy Museum, it is a private museum so it costs a little coin, but it is a must-see for any Bond, Bourne or any other type of spy fan.

The FDR Memorial, by far and away the most powerful of the presidential memorials.

If you need something to just fill an hour or less of time, I recommend the Library of Congress main building, the Supreme Court (conveniently located next to the library and across the street from the Capitol) and the National Archives, where the Constitution is on display.

Welcome, in advance, to the city, I hope you enjoy your stay!


Eliza Ward said...

Those suggestions all sound great! Thank you!

Gulfmann said...

Very informative blog,
welcome to my personal collection,