National Postal Museum
Exhibit Tells Story Of Mail Systems
Postal customers drop a letter or packages in the mail, confident they will reach their destinations safely and efficiently. What happens during that journey from sender to recipient?
“Systems at Work” — an exhibit at the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC — tells that story. The exhibit is also available for online viewing at http://npm.si.edu/systemsatwork/exhibit.html.
Spanning 200 years — from stagecoaches and rail cars to ZIP codes and computers — the exhibit provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the United States Postal Service processes and delivers mail to 152 million residences, businesses and Post Office boxes throughout the nation.
Visitors have the chance to watch an intricate process that few people in the public have seen. A lot has changed in the last two centuries, but one thing that has not changed is the Postal Service’s use of its mail-processing network to serve its customers.
At the exhibit’s heart is a video that places viewers in a mail-processing center, surrounded by automated machinery sorting mail at breathtaking speed. Visitors also can try the various mail-processing methods used by USPS over the years — including tossing packages into mail pouches, working a multi-position letter sorting machine and operating hand-held scanning devices.