Sunday, March 4, 2012

Art of the Stamp: Owney the Postal Dog

Where: National Postal Museum

When: through April 30, 2012

I confess I'm rarely excited to see an exhibit at the Postal Museum.  I've tried very hard in the past to be enthusiastic about this museum, but, unless you're a total stamp nut, it's hard to get worked up about the postal industry.  I have seen some interesting shows there; the one on FDR and Depression-era stamps was quite good, but generally, I go more for the exercise involved in walking over to Union Station than because I'm anticipating a show that will live in my memory forever.  This display (it's really too small to be called a show) is much in keeping with the rest of the museum: informative, but nothing to write home about.

Owney was a terrier mix who used to go with his owner when he worked at the Albany Post Office in the late 1880s.  When his owner got a new job, Owney stayed on with the Postal Service, eventually becoming the mascot of the Railway Mail Service.  He traveled on the mail trains and picked up numerous tags along the way, given to him by mail clerks to mark his journeys.  The final stamp shows Owney's profile with a background of tags.

There is more information about Owney in the rest of the museum, including Owney himself! Apparently, after his death, someone stuffed him and he's now on display.

Verdict: If you love stamps, or are in the Union Station area with a few minutes weighing heavy on your hands, check this out.  Otherwise, feel free to give it a miss.

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