With more than 6 million objects, the National Postal Museum has the second-largest collection of all Smithsonian museums. From philatelic rarities, to objects that enable postal operations, the rich and varied collection represents stories from around the globe, from the past to the present.

The National Postal Museum welcomes queries and information about items in its collection, including information that augments or clarifies the ownership history of objects. If you have information or questions, please email

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use of this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment.

Search the Collection

Explore thousands of objects in the collection. Use the search bar and the filter feature to narrow results and discover objects on view at the museum.

Collections Search Center

The National Postal Museum provides access to most of its collections through the Smithsonian Collections Search Center. Using the Collections Search Center, you can find catalogue records and images of the museum's object collections holdings.

Collection History

Learn about the history of the National Postal Museum’s collection.

National Postal Museum Archives

Founded in 2023, the National Postal Museum Archives collects materials that strengthen and support the Museum's goal to be a global leader and advocate for the research, study, and exhibition of postal operations history, philately, and the mail.

Donating Collection Objects or Archival Materials

The National Postal Museum welcomes the opportunity to consider offers of collection object and/or archival material donations.

Object Loans

The Museum loans its collection objects to a wide range of qualified, non-profit educational institutions as part of its commitment to reach a wider public audience through exhibition in national and international venues.

Collection Projects

Collection Management staff, volunteers and interns work to document, research and protect the museum's collection objects. Here is your chance to see what museum professionals are up to. Return periodically to learn about new projects.

Object Spotlight

Objects are the core of a museum’s reason for being. They connect us with people and stories of days gone by, allowing us to better understand our past and even use that knowledge to reflect on our present.

Digital Asset Collections

As the Smithsonian acquired its philatelic and postal operations collections, it also acquired original images and photo-reproductions. The material, which was assembled to support research, publications and exhibits, is available for public use.

Rights and Reproductions

The National Postal Museum is committed to making its collections accessible and available to researchers, publishers, and the general public.


The Preservation Department focuses on the preservation, rehousing, conservation and exhibit preparation of the National Postal Museum’s collection and loan objects. They work with both philately and postal operation objects ranging in sizes from a postage stamp to a train car.

Shared Stewardship and Ethical Returns

In April 2022, the Smithsonian adopted a Shared Stewardship and Ethical Returns Policy. The policy acknowledges that ethical norms and professional best practices in collecting have changed.

Additional Learning

Topical Reference Pages

Browse these pages to discover resources organized by topic.