Symposia and Lectures

Monday, February 5, 2024:
Research Conversations: Postage Stamps as National Symbols in the US Colonial Empire with Alvita Akiboh

4:00 – 5:00 pm ET.

Online on Zoom

A conversation with Alvita Akiboh, Assistant Professor of History at Yale University, about postage stamps as carriers of official American national identity and imperial authority.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023:
"Delivered Under Fire: Absalom Markland and Freedom’s Mail" with author Candice Shy Hooper

4:00 – 5:00 ET.

In-person at the National Postal Museum and online on Zoom.

Thursday, October 12, 2023:
Revealing the Rainbow: An Introduction to the Science of Color

4:00 – 5:00 pm ET.

Online on Zoom

Olivia R. Kuzio, Professional Fellow at the Getty Conservation Institute, introduced the science of color.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023:
Research Conversations: Family Postcards and Black Lives in Early Twentieth-Century America with Dr. Faith Mitchell

4:00 – 5:00 pm ET.

Online on Zoom

A conversation with Dr. Faith Mitchell, Institute Fellow, the Urban Institute and author of Emma’s Postcard Album speaking about the postcards that led her to study her family’s history and black lives in the early twentieth century.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023:
Research Conversations: Rural Mail Carriers in Central Appalachia with Emily Hilliard

4:00 – 5:00 pm ET.

Online and at the National Postal Museum

Emily Hilliard is the Program Director for Folk and Traditional Arts at Mid Atlantic Arts. She received an Archie Green Fellowship in 2021 from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for her project "Rural Free Delivery: Mail Carriers in Central Appalachia." The project documents the expressive culture and experiences of twenty-five rural mail carriers and clerks in the upper mountain South (VA, WV, KY, OH, NC). It focuses, in particular, on the function they serve as lifelines in their community, as well as how rural post offices are invaluable community hubs in remote areas.

September 14, 2022:
Book Talk – Between Home and the Front: Civil War Letters of the Walters Family

7:00 – 8:00 pm ET.

Online and on the ground floor of the National Postal Museum

A book signing was held after the talk in the museum atrium for those attending in person.

Between Home and the Front presents previously unpublished letters from the Walters family's collection held by the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. This collection includes the exchange of correspondence between the home front and frontline, a perspective not often seen in historical records. The publication provides a glimpse into the emotions and news that Private David Walters of the 5th Indiana Cavalry and his wife Rachel shared in their correspondence. Rachel became the hub of communication for the family, often receiving missives from David's brothers, Isaac and John Wesley, both of whom served with Indiana units, and relaying the information to friends and family.

Thursday, May 6, 2021:
The US Post and the Making of the American West

Online, via Zoom

On May 6 Cameron Blevins discussed his new book, Paper Trails: The US Post and the Making of the American West, in conversation with historian Robert Dalton Harris.

October 6 - 22, 2020:
Fourth International Symposium on Analytical Methods in Philately

Online, via Zoom

Unable to host the event in person, the National Postal Museum, a co-sponsor of the event with the Institute of Analytical Philately, hosted the symposium on Zoom. Presentations were followed by an open discussion of analytical methods in philately.

October 12 – 14, 2017:
Third International Symposium on Analytical Methods in Philately

London, England

The symposium was co-sponsored by the Institute of Analytical Philately, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, and the Royal Philatelic Society, London, which hosted the event.

November 18 - 19, 2015:
Second International Symposium on Analytical Methods in Philately

Chicago, IL

The symposium was held in conjunction with CHICAGOPEX.

November 12 – 14, 2012:
First International Symposium on Analytical Methods in Philately

American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

In addition to two days of technical presentations, there was a half-day workshop, including hands-on experience with the NPM forensic equipment.

June 3, 2012:
The George W. Brett Centennial: U.S. Stamp Researcher Extraordinaire Symposium

Tysons Corner, VA

This symposium honored George W. Brett’s achievements and addressed his legacy. Presenters included Roger Brody, Rodney A. Juell, James Kloetzel, Cheryl R. Ganz, Michael Plett, Richard D. Bates, Daniel A. Piazza, Steven J. Rod, and Thomas Lera.

October 17, 2007:
Technologies, Technologists & Networks: A Symposium on the History of Communication Technologies

National Postal Museum

From 17 – 22 October 2007, the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) met in Washington, D.C., and celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. As part of that celebration, the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum hosted a one-day symposium on the history of communication technologies.