Postal Inspectors

Topical Reference Page
U.S. Postal Inspector badge

Find resources about the United States Postal Inspection Service on the museum's website.

Glossary: Postal Inspection Service

June 27, 2014 - Indefinitely

Behind the Badge explores the mission and duty of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the Postal Service. The exhibit examines the inspection service’s history and work through some of its most famous and remarkable cases. Visitors learn how the service helps protect them, sharing tips to guard against scams and fraud.

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Object Spotlight

Inspector John Clum worked for the Inspection Service off and on until 1911. In honor of his retirement, his fellow inspectors surprised him with this gold and diamond locket with the U.S. Post Office Department seal. Inside the locket are the names of his fellow inspectors.

Glossary terms from "A" to "Z" related to stamp collecting and postal operations.
fake baseball cards
Some baseball fans want to bring home a piece of the game. There is a multi-billion-dollar market for sports memorabilia—and there are plenty of unscrupulous people willing to make a quick buck selling forgeries and counterfeit goods.
Postal Inspector Dan Mihalko in an art gallery
Learn firsthand from Postal Inspector and Postal Museum Docent Dan Mihalko about real postal crimes involving counterfeit works of high art sold at a high price!
Postal Inspector Dan Mihalko holding a baseball
Learn firsthand from Postal Inspector and Postal Museum Docent Dan Mihalko about real postal crimes involving fraudulent sports memorabilia and forged autographs!
Postal Inspector Dan Mihalko wearing a stethoscope
Learn firsthand from Postal Inspector and Postal Museum Docent Dan Mihalko about real postal crimes involving phony health “remedies!”
February 7, 2007 - April 8, 2014

Today about 2,000 postal inspectors are at work across the United States investigating crimes against the mail. Learn more about the inspectors and their job in this exhibit.

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Related Blogs

Researching Objects for New Acquisitions

For museums, generally speaking,  “acquisitions” refers to obtaining an object and “accessions” refers to legally taking possession and documenting the object into the museum’s permanent collection. The National Postal Museum recently accessioned several objects into our collection. How did we determine which objects to accession, and what was the process for adding them to our collection? Learn more in a blog by curator Lynn Heidelbaugh.

John Clum in Alaska

This Postal inspector was one of the most colorful characters in America’s postal history. His name was John Phillip Clum (1851-1932). Among his various careers were stints as an Indian Agent in San Carlos, AZ; the founding editor of the Tombstone, AZ Epitaph newspaper; as well as the town’s mayor and postmaster. He later served in a variety of areas as postal inspector and picked up the mantel of postmaster later in following trips to Alaska, first in Nome and then Fairbanks.

Postal Museum Opens “Behind the Badge” Exhibition

The “Behind the Badge” exhibition opened today at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. It showcases the work of one of the nation’s oldest federal law-enforcement agencies. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service dates to 1776, when Benjamin Franklin first sent a...

Omaha Train Robbery: May 22, 1909

In the dark of the night around 11pm Union Pacific’s Overland Limited train was stopped just south of Omaha, Nebraska by a pair of men holding pistols and wearing handkerchief masks. When the train stopped, another pair appeared and demanded the mail clerks open up the door to the...