A Mailbox with a Catch | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

A Mailbox with a Catch

A Mailbox with a Catch

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Recently a mailbox in Maine was carefully packed up by a fine-arts shipping firm and trucked to Washington, D.C. "We certainly consider it a work of art," says Phyllis Reed. "Kenneth has done a lot of woodwork but has never gotten recognition." Last spring she encouraged her husband to enter the National Postal Museum's Artful Mailbox Contest, a tribute to creativity in rural America. "I was just hoping he might be one of the top ten."

Kenneth's creation shows different levels of the sea from a Mainer's perspective: an old-style wooden lobster trap decorated with aluminum starfish holds the regulation mailbox; a metal mobile of fish and sea horses floats above; the buoy marks the location of the trap; the yellow-slickered fisherman waits patiently.

Instead of the usual red flag, a lobster claw signals that there's mail to be picked up. It all stands more than six feet tall and weighs about 125 pounds. This winning mailbox and photographs of the ten runners-up will be on display at the museum through December. Five of the pictures can be seen here. The Reeds have no plans to visit their mailbox in Washington. "But we hope our grandson will go."

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