Preservation Celebration!


Thursday, April 28, 2016 | 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.| Lower Level Atrium, National Postal Museum | Free

By Ren Cooper

Join the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum as we celebrate National Preservation Week! Founded in 2010 by the American Libraries Association, National Preservation Week (April 24-April 30) is dedicated to the preservation of our personal and shared collections, which aid us in our understanding of history, culture, and each other. With over 6 million objects, the National Postal Museum has among the largest collections within the Smithsonian Institution. Our trusty preservation team has preserved a wide range of artifacts – from stamps and covers to vehicles to Owney the Dog! – and kept them safe since the Postal Museum opened in 1993.

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Come chat with our friendly specialists on Thursday, April 28th between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.!
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Cleaning a Long Life Vehicle in the Atrium

Preservation, also known as Preventative Conservation, refers to the practice of maintaining an artifact’s integrity by avoiding or minimizing further damage and deterioration. The main components of preservation are the proper handling, storage, and display of an artifact. The Conservators at the National Postal Museum determine whether an artifact is in need of physical treatment, which can entail repairs, enforcing structures, and reducing loss. The preservation specialists construct custom micro-environments for the objects in storage to mitigate the risk of deterioration. They also prepare and mount artifacts for both short term and long term exhibitions in a manner that is conducive to the well-being of the objects. Additionally, our preservation and collections staff utilize proper packing and shipping techniques for any artifacts on loan to other museums, or for those being transported to one of the Postal Museum’s four off-site storage facilities.

In keeping with National Preservation week, on Thursday, April 28th, 2016, between 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., National Postal Museum visitors are encouraged to bring in their own keepsakes for personalized conservation and preservation team. The Collections Department will also have on display several artifacts from deep within the National Postal Museum vault, and will share information about the care and keeping of these artifacts. Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to play an interactive game identifying the top factors in a home that can contribute to the deterioration of keepsakes. Join us for the festivities, which promise to be both informative and fun!

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Owney the Dog – who is about 130 years old (or 533 in dog years!) - gets touched up in 2011


  • Artifacts and Memorabilia
  • Books
  • Drawings
  • Letters and Documents
  • Photo Albums and Photographs
  • Postal Operations Material
  • Stamps, Covers, other Philatelic Materials
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Our Collections Department at work in the lab

*Please note that the National Postal Museum is not responsible for any lost, damaged, or stolen items. National Postal Museum staff is not authorized to appraise the monetary value of objects.