What does disability mean? Do you or does someone you know have a specific disability? Guest Artist Rafael Lopez will lead elementary school students in a virtual program that discusses the history of disability representation on US postage stamps. From Albert Einstein to Lou Gehrig, children will learn more about the many individuals with disabilities that have been honored on a commemorative stamp, as well as the ways—both positive and negative—disabilities have been portrayed by the United States Postal Service. Participants will get to discuss with Rafael and the author of Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, Sonia Sotomayor, what their personal experiences with disabilities have been.
The National Postal Museum just reopened in late August for the first time since March 2020, the last of the DC Smithsonians to once again welcome visitors. I was running an errand nearby yesterday, so I decided to pop in for a little museum fix and see what is/isn’t currently on view, and to enjoy what I think is one of the most stunning spaces in the city.
The museum is in the Postal Square Building, which was DC’s main post office from 1914 to 1986
I’ve always recommended the museum as a particularly great one to visit with young children. Located in the Postal Square Building between Union Station and North Capitol Street, it doesn’t draw the big crowds that its Smithsonian counterparts on the Mall often do, which is especially nice right now. And the space isn’t huge, making it easy to explore with little ones. That said, it’s appealing to all ages and fantastic to visit without kids, too, like I just did…
Mailboxes from around the world
Since there’s already a whole KFDC write-up about the museum, this post of scenes is really just a reminder that it’s open again and a strong recommendation to go, plus a quick update of what’s on display and some highlights. The Pony Express area is closed, but most other exhibits are currently open. You can digitally design a stamp and start a collection in the Stamp Gallery, learn how the post office serves cities and scan and sort mail, read letters sent to and from soldiers in WWI, and go Behind the Badge to explore the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. And the lofty atrium featuring airmail planes, mail trucks, a train car, a horse & buggy, the trailer of a semi that you can climb aboard, and other large-scale modes of mail transport is as stunning as ever.
Our local museums host some fantastic events and activities for families. One that I especially love is the annual Valentine’s Day Card Workshop at the National Postal Museum. For one weekend every February, the museum provides a bountiful spread of supplies — patterned papers, postage and rubber stamps, gems and other 3-D embellishments, special cut-out scissors, washi tape, stickers, markers of every color (with a surplus of hearts, red and pink!) — for designing one-of-a-kind Valentine greetings. All guests need to bring is their own creative instincts and readiness for a good time.
This year’s workshop will be held on Saturday, February 8, and Sunday, February 9, from 10am to 4pm both days. You can drop in anytime to the open house event, and it’s appropriate for all ages. Everyone from families with young children to teens hanging out together to groups of adults come out for this one, and there’s always a great sense of community. The layout of the card-making stations and supply tables fosters sharing and friendliness, not to mention the theme of it all lends to a love-ly vibe.
The workshop takes place in the museum’s lower-level Atrium, which, for those new to the National Postal Museum, is full of various postal transports from over the years, including a real train car, semi-truck (yes, kids can climb in and pretend to drive!), a horse-drawn carriage, and airplanes hanging from the ceiling. And the museum’s pleasant staff and volunteers are always available to answer questions, provide examples of beautiful completed cards, or help in any other way.
A handmade card can be hard to come by these days. But this event is the perfect environment in which kids (and you!) can express their love for friends and family with a heartfelt note of affection and appreciation. They can also experience firsthand the satisfaction of crafting their very own unique creations from start to finish — and the pure joy of giving it to someone special.
Valentine’s Day Card Workshop
Where: National Postal Museum | 2 Massachusetts Ave NE, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, February 8-9, 10am – 4pm
* Plan to stay and explore the National Postal Museum — it makes for a great family experience! Read more about it here.
This post is sponsored by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.
Looking for a unique, fun, and meaningful way to bond with your family this holiday season? The National Postal Museum’s Annual Holiday Card Workshop is a perfect opportunity for just that! Visitors of all ages can enjoy the free, open-house event that will be held on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8, 10am – 4pm.
The museum’s card making workshops are a KFDC favorite, and I highly recommend going if you haven’t yet been to one — or even if you have. They provide a beautiful, bountiful spread of patterned papers, postage and rubber stamps, gems and other 3-D embellishments, special cut-out scissors, washi tape, stickers, markers of every color and more. Guests can follow their own creative instincts, choosing whichever supplies they would like to design one-of-a-kind greetings for any holiday, or even just a wintery “Hello!”
The workshop takes place in the Postal Museum’s lower-level Atrium, which is full of various postal mail transports from over the years, including a real train car, semi-truck (that kids can climb in and pretend to drive), a horse-drawn carriage, and airplanes hanging from the ceiling. It’s quite a stunning space! And thanks to Smithsonian Gardens, the Atrium will be decked out in festive foliage to help get everyone in the holiday spirit.
The layout of the card-making stations and supply tables encourages sharing, friendliness, and a sense of community. We always enjoy meeting and chatting with our table mates, and the fun, creative vibe always has everyone in a good mood. The museum’s pleasant staff and volunteers are also available to answer questions, provide examples of completed cards, or help in any other way.
For many, a handmade gesture can mean much more to a friend or a loved one than a store-bought gift. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than taking the time to express your love and gratitude with a heartfelt greeting?
*As a special treat this year, the U.S. Postal Service’s Operation Santa will be featured at the event. Each year, hundreds of thousands of letters sent to Santa from children and families arrive at Post Offices around the country. Most letters ask for toys and games. Some ask for basic necessities. Some ask for help for themselves and their loved ones. USPS Operation Santa makes it possible for individuals and organizations to adopt these letters and send responses and thoughtful gifts in Santa’s place.
In celebration of the Smithsonian Year of Music (and in sync with baseball season), the National Postal Museum is hosting Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Music and Song at American Baseball Stadiums. This Saturday, August 24, from 3-4:30pm, the public is invited to join the museum for a discussion about music in baseball along with a concert of classic baseball tunes.
The event will feature a panel presentation that explores the intersection of music and baseball. Discussion will include the early origins of organ music in the sport, the instruments used and popularity over time at stadiums, and the ways in which organ music, and music in general, have become inextricably linked with the experience of attending a baseball game. The panel will also explore the fascinating history of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” a song so significant it was memorialized on a stamp in 2008 to commemorate its 100th anniversary.
Following the panel, there will also be a live concert of classic baseball songs performed by Josh Kantor, organist for the Boston Red Sox.
Presenters and discussants will include:
– Daniel Piazza, Head Curator at the National Postal Museum and curator of the upcoming NPM exhibition “Baseball: America’s Homerun”
– Josh Kantor, Organist for Boston Red Sox home games at Fenway Park
– Matthew W. Mihalka, Instructor of Musicology at the University of Arkansas
– Andy Strasberg, former marketer for the San Diego Padres and co-author of Baseball’s Greatest Hit: The Story of Take Me Out to the Ball Game
All ages are welcome! And plan for time to enjoy the National Postal Museum, too — it’s fantastic for families. Read more about it in this KFDC post.