National Postal Museum Launches Digital Memory Book

Captures Oral Histories from Current and Former Postal Employees
September 26, 2012
News Release

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum announces the launch of its new digital memory book, People and the Post (www.memorybook.si.edu). This site will collect and publish stories from current and former employees of the U.S. Postal Service (formerly the Post Office Department). The media-rich memory book offers 15 story categories for employees to choose from when leaving their stories, and it allows individuals to leave and supplement their memories with text, video, audio and photographs.

Mail and the post have been a fundamental part of the American experience from its earliest days. America’s popular culture is filled with visual and written allusions to mail and the service. Post offices, letter carriers, mailboxes, stamps, letters and packages…all of these and more are part of the national shared culture. While most Americans easily recognize the uniformed letter carrier, few know much more about the majority of postal employees who process and manage their daily mail. It is time to meet a greater variety of postal workers through People and the Post. The National Postal Museum encourages current and former postal workers to change this dynamic by sharing their work/life stories with the general public, and it invites the general public to take a moment to learn more about the men and women who move the nation’s mail.

This initiative will help the museum chronicle the rich history of the post by capturing the institutional knowledge of the people behind it. These stories showcase the depth and breadth of the history of the U.S. postal system and its contributions to American history.

“The history of America’s postal workers is that of the nation,” said Nancy Pope, historian and curator at the museum. “For instance, we feel the emotion of the moment when Phyllis Woods of Ohio shares her story of the night when workers went about their business in silence and shock following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. John Kelly of Colorado talks about the evolution in the workplace from mechanization ‘where you were literally strapped to the machine’ to automated machines that left postal workers “running around picking up after it.’ These are stories both common to other industries and also reflective of the giant organization that moves the nation’s mail.”

“We are excited to offer postal workers the opportunity to tell their insightful and amazing stories,” said Allen Kane, museum director. “Postal employees have the opportunity to leave behind stories about their careers for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren to read in the future.” The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue N.E., Washington, D.C., across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). For more information about the Smithsonian, call (202) 633-1000 or visit the museum website at www.postalmuseum.si.edu.

 

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SI-427-2012

Media Only

Marty Emery

(202) 633-5518

emerym@si.edu