National Postal Museum

Riders outside the Patee House Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, the route's eastern terminus. Every year the National Pony Express Association conducts an annual re-ride of the famous delivery route.

Six Stops on the Pony Express That You Can Still Visit

Established 160 years ago, the short-lived route was once the quickest way to deliver mail across the United States

This damaged floor marker, labeled “Stairwell C, Floor 102,” was recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center and is now housed in the National Museum of American History's National September 11 Collection.

September 11

Commemorate 9/11 With Free Virtual Programs, Resources From the Smithsonian

Here's how the American History Museum, the National Postal Museum and more are reflecting on the tragedy

Pocket watch with engraved, gold-plated case found on the body of postal clerk John Starr March. The hands point to 1:27, around when the Titanic sank on the morning of April 15, 1912.

What a Watch Tells Us About the Titanic's Final Hours

The handheld item, belonging to an American crew member, stopped minutes before the ship sank

In a bloody brawl, Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus battle to the finish in the much-loved new dinosaur hall at the National Museum of Natural History.

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Will Reopen in June

Discover tips for visiting the T-Rex, the Hope Diamond and more, when 10 Smithsonian museums reopen this summer

Why does smaller size, like that of the anteater, benefit species in different environments, wondered one Smithsonian reader.

Why Are South American Animals Smaller Than Those on Other Continents?

You've got questions. We've got experts

Anti-war Democrats objected to mail-in voting, citing widespread fears of voter fraud, as well as intimidation on the part of the pro-Republican military.

History of Now

The Debate Over Mail-In Voting Dates Back to the Civil War

In 1864, Democrats and Republicans clashed over legislation allowing soldiers to cast their ballots from the front

“The postal service is one of the oldest federal agencies,” says Daniel Piazza, a curator of philately at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. “Maybe for that reason, we tend to take it for granted. But we have always relied on it, whether for news from home, prescription medications or e-commerce.”

A Brief History of the United States Postal Service

To forge a nation, the founders needed an efficient communications network

A wooden paddle with a nail-studded leather face was used in Alabama in 1899 to perforate mail in preparation for fumigation as a precaution against yellow fever.

Mail Handlers Used to Poke Holes in Envelopes to Battle Germs and Viruses

The postal service and scientists say there’s no need to sanitize the mail today

Spectacular offerings include (clockwise from top left): John Singer Sargent; art in response to the Age of Humans; Preston Singletary; Yayoi Kusama; and the mighty influence of Alexander von Humboldt.

Twenty Smithsonian Shows to See in 2020

Women inventors, baseball stamps and a new Kusama Infinity Room are among the offerings

Before He Was a Musician, John Lennon Was a Philatelist

Marking the arrival of a new postage stamp, the musician’s boyhood collection is on view at the National Postal Museum

A Curtiss "Jenny" biplane carrying mail for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before takeoff from the Polo Grounds in Washington, D.C.

Delivering the Mail Was Once One of the Riskiest Jobs in America

A new exhibition at the National Postal Museum honors the nation’s first airmail pilots

“Inverted Jennies” grew in notoriety; as one writer note, they “blossomed into the Taj Mahal of stamps."

How the Inverted Jenny, a 24-Cent Stamp, Came to Be Worth a Fortune

Mark the centennial of an epic mistake at the National Postal Museum where several of these world-famous stamps are on view

The long-barreled pistols will be on view at the Postal Museum from May 25 through June 24.

Hamilton and Burr’s Dueling Pistols Are Coming to Washington, D.C.

Don’t throw away your shot to see these infamous flintlocks, and an incredible assortment of other Hamilton memorabilia, at the National Postal Museum

A massive task force—150 full-time personnel from the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service—hunted the Unabomber.

When the Unabomber Was Arrested, One of the Longest Manhunts in FBI History Was Finally Over

Twenty years ago, the courts gave Theodore Kaczynski four life sentences, thereby ending more than a decade of terror.

Ruth (Woodworth) Creveling, US Navy Yeoman (F), 1917-1920

During World War I, Many Women Served and Some Got Equal Pay

Remembering the aspirations, struggles and accomplishments of women who served a century ago

The 200 or so volunteer “elves” at the Santa Claus museum in Indiana respond to about 20,000 letters each year.

Ask Smithsonian

What Happens to All Those Letters Sent to Santa?

Believe it or not, most get answered

The dead letter office circa 1922. The contents of unresolvable dead letters and packages are periodically sold off by the USPS.

A Brief History of American Dead Letter Offices

The United States postal system was established on this day in 1775, and mail started going "dead" very soon after

Some of the 3,000 commemorative letters sent in the first Postal Department rocket mail are still around. Some made it into the National Postal Museum's collection.

Mail Delivery By Rocket Never Took Off

Although the Postmaster General was on board with the idea of missile mail, the Navy was ultimately less interested

An American aid worker in France writes a letter back home for a wounded soldier in 1918.

World War I Letters From Generals to Doughboys Voice the Sorrow of Fighting a War

An exhibition at the National Postal Museum displays a rare letter from General John Pershing

“I am now a member of the 95th Aero Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group,” Quentin Roosevelt proudly announced to his mother on June 25, 1918. “I’m on the front—cheers, oh cheers—and I’m very happy.”

World War I Letters Show Theodore Roosevelt's Unbearable Grief After the Death of his Son

A rich trove of letters in the new book “My Fellow Soldiers” tells the stories of generals, doughboys, doctors and nurses, and those on the home front