Travel

A Visit With Owney, Mascot of the Railway Mail Service

I am a HUGE fan of the Roadside America (your online guide to offbeat tourist attractions) website.  In fact, I rarely travel anywhere without first researching where I am going on the website and the app on my phone, and this trip was no exception.

Case in point, we were visiting DC and I wanted to know what odd and unusual roadside attractions that I definitely had to see.  I saw the info about  Owney, the stuffed Postal Dog and knew that it was definitely on the list.  Our trip to DC was to celebrate my husbands retirement after 29+ years of service to the USPS so this cool attraction fit right in. 

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At the top of the escalator, before you head down to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, there is a statue of Owney greeting you. 

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National Postal Museum – 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Washington DC
Hours:  Daily 10 am – 5:30 pm.
Phone:  202-633-5555
Admission:  Free!

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-Photo of a card provided at the National Postal Museum store

So here’s Owney up close and personal.  Don’t let the glassy eyed stare fool you, he was a cute little dog. 

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This little guy was a stray and the USPS mail clerks grew to love him.  He had found his “forever home” except his “forever home” was not just in one place! 

He started taking trips and as the card above mentions, Owney collected tags, tokens, trinkets and medals from his travels.

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I love seeing little quirky things like this.  They are little nuggets of useless info that I will store in my brain for later use.  You never know who might ask if anyone knows who the mascot of the railway mail service is…and I’ll know the answer!

Me – “Alex, I’ll take animal mascots for $1000.”
Alex – “This dog is the mascot of the U.S. railway mail service.”
Me – “Who is Owney?”
::ding::  ::ding::  ::ding::

And then I’ll get the answer right and probably win a million dollars or something. 

I picked up some *OWNEY* postcards to mail to all of our grandkids. I thought it would be cool for them to receive some mail from Nana and Poppy while we were on our trip so I bought a bunch of postcard stamps before we left.  Seriously, I’m singlehandedly trying to revive the whole postcard/snail mail industry.

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-Photo of postcard at the National Postal Museum

  • Have you ever checked out the Roadside America website?
  • What cool places have you been lately or what quirky things have you seen?

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Travel

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum

My husband is a retired mailman and the trip to DC was his retirement trip, so of course we just had to visit the Smithsonian National Postal Museum

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The National Postal Museum, a Smithsonian Institution museum, is located in the old Post Office building next to Union Station in Washington, D.C. The Museum was created by an agreement between the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Postal Service in 1990 and opened to the public in 1993.

Museum Hours
The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except December 25. Admission is free.

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-Photo of a card provided at the National Postal Museum store

As we rode the escalator down to the museum, the first thing that caught my eye was an LLV – Long Life Vehicle.  This is the type of vehicle that my husband drove for the last 15 or so of his 29+ years with the United States Postal Service

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Of course they also had a mailbox.  For his retirement party I made one of these out of cardboard to hold all his retirement congratulations cards. 

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My version of the mailbox, which I think turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

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Here is Benjamin Franklin, First Postmaster General.

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They had lots of cool displays and here are some things that caught my eye.

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One of the permanent exhibits that they have, that I particularly enjoyed, was the Mail Call exhibit.  Mail Call explores how the military postal system works and why the mail is an important resource.  Types of mail, transportation methods, and postal workers have all changed over time.  Through innovations in technology and organization, mail has become more diverse and military mail services more reliable. 

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An example of a “Post Office” on a Navy ship. 

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This exhibit hit closer to home as I am a military mom.  The role of the Post Office takes on a greater importance when the mail becomes one of your primary sources of connecting with your loved one. 

One of the activities that they had was a mail sorting “game”.  Marvin tried his hand at it and he did pretty good!

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-Photo of a card provided at the National Postal Museum store

I played a “sorting game” with this vintage machine.  You had to push certain buttons to sort the mail.

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As you can see, I sent most of the letters on the right path.  Yea me!!

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Marvin posing with Mr. Zip

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Me with Mr. Zip. 

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We had a lot of fun and if you have time I recommend stopping by as there are lots of interactive displays to enjoy with your family. 

  • What museums have you seen recently?
  • When is the last time you mailed a letter? 

(((hugs))) ~lisa