Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Washington DC

4.6
Learn about the history of the U.S. postal system and discover the stories behind its impressive collection of mail memorabilia at Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Located inside the capital's central post office from 1914 until 1986, this arm of the Smithsonian Institution boasts a vast collection of stamps, mail-carrying vehicles from across the ages, and significant letters. The collection extends to some rather curious post-related items, such as the preserved remains of Owney the dog, the postal system's unofficial mascot in the late 19th century. Put Smithsonian National Postal Museum into our Washington DC trip maker tool and find out what's close by, where to stay, and where to head next.
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Smithsonian National Postal Museum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
845 reviews
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4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Ok, So I used to collect stamps so I went here when I had a free afternoon. Really very interesting. The origin of postage stamps ( not in the US). How addressees used to pay for mail to be delivered ...  more »
  • Have had one of my best "visit with kids" experiences at the postal museum...learned a lot about the postal service and there are plenty of hands on activities and room to run for kids.  more »
  • Both enlightening and entertaining. Aside from the history of the Postal Service, the interactive exhibits are fun. You can create your own stamp with a photo or a selfie that the system puts an a sta...  more »
Google
  • The National Postal Museum is a MUST if you're in DC with kids. It's by far the most interactive museum in DC and the museum where you'll walk away with the most free stuff. AND IT'S COMPLETELY FREE! Here's what makes it the best kid friendly museum in DC: 1) Exhibits: The museum did an excellent of taking a topic that could be very dry (the US Postal System) and brought it to life through interactive exhibits. You can design your own stamp, search for stamps you can keep, and see how fast you are at sorting mail. 2) Architecture: The museum is set up in a breath taking way. The building itself is historic and very Roman like. Make sure you look up as you go through the museum to see ceilings decorated with life sized stamps and airplanes. 3) History: Surprisingly, the museum houses some historical items you'd imagine would be at a more prominent museum. They have America's first stamps and even Amelia Earhart's flight suit on display. The National Postal Museum is off the beaten path from The National Mall, but it's well worth a visit if you have kids. Heck, it's really fun even if you don't have kids!
  • Quite possibly the most underrated museum in DC. We stopped by for the novelty experience and because the Smithsonian Museums are free. It turned out to be a really amazing find. All of the staff working in the museum is super happy to help with any questions. The entire museum is full of interactive exhibits. It really helps you see how the postal service can change history. Go visit!
  • This is a hidden gem. Seems to be overlooked. It is right next to Union station. Has many Interesting displays and history. If you are interested in stamp collecting has many neat resources for you. You don't need to be a stamp collector to enjoy this Museum. Entry is free.
  • I was fascinated with this post office museum. They have done an extremely good job at displaying the history of the us postal service. The early days of postal delivery is highlighted here in a way that is thought provoking. It makes me really feel like we take advantage or take for granted the delivery of mail to our residence.
  • Unheralded but fascinating museum covering more interesting aspects of postage than you probably thought possible. Historical stamps and oddities, stamp design, special editions like Elvis and Marilyn, the evolution of delivery vehicles, technology and automation, and all engaging and well-presented. Highly recommended.

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Where to stay in Washington DC

Most visitors to Washington, D.C., end up in the East End, the old downtown district containing most of the city's major cultural attractions. For a more authentic Washingtonian experience, consider staying at a smaller hotel just a little north or east of this busy area. Neighborhoods outside downtown offer less expensive accommodations and affordable street parking, as well as opportunities to meet more locals and fewer tourists. Alternatively, try a hotel in Georgetown, packed with high-end shops and Colonial architecture.
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