Mail Call Exhibit Opens

Posted by Annie on Nov 10, 2011 in Education |

I think most of us have had a stamp collection at one time or another in our lives. I can recall as a girl, dreaming up ways to get mail from anyone overseas. I was thrilled  to  receive a letter all the way from Australia, until I discovered just how expensive it was to send a letter from that distance, because I had to send a return letter.

I’ve had penpals several times over the years. It can be  fun to communicate with people whose lives are very different from our own.

Today, I try to be a good grandmother and send my grandchildren gifts, cards and letters through the mail. Recently, it has come to my attention that the English language is suffering through the digital age. I think the Post Office runs on spam, because  aside from  bills, the only mail we receive on a normal day are sales fliers, catalogs and the political spewings from people I’d never dream of voting for.

National Postal Museum

Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Is it any wonder our children can’t compose a simple coherent  sentence on paper? When did “what” become “wat” and “why” became “y”. The age of texting hasn’t helped the literary expansion of the nation. I shudder to think what our descendents will think when they unearth say, Sacramento 2,000 years from now. E-gads!

The mail is a terrific way to expose children to geography. When the grandparents decided to travel Europe, the entire family was excited to receive postcards and emails with tales of exploration from another continent.

History is another  subject that goes hand in hand with stamp collecting. Stamps have been used in this country since the Pony Express and certainly before then. The mail played an important role in history — especially to our  military men and women stationed overseas.

I am so excited about the exhibit at The Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Announced just today…

National Postal Museum Opens “Mail Call” Exhibit

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum today opened “Mail Call,” its new permanent exhibit, exploring the history of America’s military postal system. Visitors can discover how military mail communication has changed throughout history, learn about the armed forces postal system from the American Revolution to the present day and experience military mail through exciting artifacts and letters. The exhibit offers an appreciation of the importance of military mail and the hard work that has gone into connecting service men and women to their government, community and loved ones at home.

The exhibit features a number of interesting artifacts that bring to life the story of military mail. Highlights include a camouflaged bag used to drop letters from helicopters during the Vietnam War and a postal handstamp recovered from the USS Oklahoma, which was sunk in the bombings at Pearl Harbor in 1941. In addition to letters and official correspondence on display, the accompanying film Missing You: Letters from Wartime, provides visitors access to the dramatic firsthand records and heartfelt sentiments exchanged between writers on the frontline and the home front. The exhibit also explores how the military postal system works today and describes the new ways the men and women of the armed forces are communicating with home.

“Mail has always played a very important role in the lives of our brave troops and their families at home,” said Allen Kane, director of the museum. “This exhibit shows how mail delivery to troops was not easily accomplished during times of adversity, as significant obstacles had to be overcome along the way in many cases.”

“Writing and receiving correspondence has a significant power to shape morale,” said exhibit curator Lynn Heidelbaugh. “The relationship between mail and morale is expressed time and again in messages from deployed military personnel, and it is a compelling reason behind the extraordinary efforts to maintain timely mail service.”

The exhibit is made possible by Lockheed Martin.

A curator-led tour of the new “Mail Call” exhibit will be part of the museum’s Civil War public program, Saturday, Nov. 19. As part of the Smithsonian’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this program will also include an author talk and family activities. It will run from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Visit the museum’s website for more information.

The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue N.E., Washington, D.C., across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). For more information about the Smithsonian, call (202) 633-1000 or visit the museum website at www.postalmuseum.si.edu.

So, if you get the opportunity to  get to Washington D.C., be sure to visit the exhibit.    The rest of us can explore “Mail Call” online. They have done a terrific job of putting the site together.

What will I find at the National Postal Museum website?

  • Mail Call exhibit
  • Student tours
  • Curriculum
  • Classroom Resources
  • Videos
  • The Art of Cards and Letters
  • Stamp Collecting
  • Games
  • Collections
  • Lending Library
  • Much more…

I hope you enjoy this site.  I can’t wait to find out more.

~Annie

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1 Comment

  • Shawn K. Hall says:

    Interesting… they put the bulk of the Postal Mail Museum’s new exhibit online. Talk about art imitating life!

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