Train tracks connecting the coasts of the U.S. allowed the Post Office Department to quickly move mail across the entire country. And over time, trains have played an important role in keeping our nation connected. The National Postal Museum recognizes this every May with an event to commemorate the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. This year is extra special as the museum is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad along with the U.S. Postal Service’s new “Golden Spike” stamp!
The annual Train Day Celebration will take place this Saturday, May 11, from 10am to 3pm. The museum has all kinds of fun and educational activities planned for all ages, providing opportunities to learn, engage, and play. And it’s all free and open to the public!
Here’s some of what you can enjoy at the celebration:
Model Train Railroad Displays
Enjoy the magical, miniature world of model railroads running throughout the museum thanks to the Rappahannock Model Railroaders; the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society; and the Northern Virginia NTRAK.
Railway Post Office (RPO) Training School
The tiniest RPO clerks (ages 2-5, up to 45 pounds) can ride on a toy steam train and collect mailbags in between stations. Older kids can learn all about the specialized jargon that was used by RPO clerks and become a certified Junior RPO Lingo Expert.
“Meet” Owney the Dog
Owney was a scruffy mutt who rode with the mailbags on RPO train cars across the country in the late 19th century. The RPO clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot and good luck charm since no train Owney rode was ever in a wreck. “Meet” Owney and hear all about his adventures.
Crack the secret code of the railroad crews as you learn to communicate by train whistle. After you master the skill, take a train-shaped whistle home with you.
Railway Post Office (RPO) Sorting Challenge
Do you have what it takes to be an RPO mail clerk? Board an authentic train car and see if you can sort the mail before time runs out!
Join a special train-themed story time about trains and the brave and perseverant Chinese railroad workers who made the Transcontinental Railroad possible.
Chug on over and join the fun!
Train Day Celebration
Where: National Postal Musuem | 2 Massachusetts Ave NE, WDC
Location: Across from Union Station (Metro Red Line)
When: Saturday, May 11 | 10am – 3pm