Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pacific Exchange: China & U.S. Mail

Where: National Postal Museum

When: through January 4, 2015

My first exhibit that's closing in 2015 - a bit dizzying, since we're not even halfway through 2014 yet.  I've been seeing shows pretty frequently, so I'm well ahead of the closings now.  Of course, new shows open all the time, so I'll have plenty to keep me busy indefinitely.

I don't go to the Postal Museum all that often, as it's not a very large museum and only occasionally has special exhibits.  It's a bit of a hike from my office, but going there takes me to my old stomping grounds (I used to work very close to Union Station before I took my current job), and it's always interesting to see what has changed in the neighborhood since my last visit.

I have to say that, as much as I try to be interested in the exhibits they put on, I just don't find them that scintillating.  I think the most intriguing one I've seen was one on FDR and depression-era stamps, and that's because I'm interested in the Roosevelts, not in stamps.  This show on the history of Chinese/U.S. mail failed to grip.

I think the point of the show was to demonstrate the history of U.S.-Chinese relations in stamps, which they did, but somehow it just didn't hold my interest.  I noticed several very pretty stamps: one of cranes and one of pandas, and a very colorful Chinese New Year stamp, but those were a few bright spots in an otherwise pretty dull show.  It did give me a chance to go to the Postmaster Suite in the new stamp gallery, which was quite nice, but that didn't really make up for the show itself.  It was rather like being more interested in the Founders' Room at the National Gallery, rather than in their Monuments Men exhibit.

Verdict: If you're a stamp aficionado, run right out and see this show.  Otherwise, you can give it a miss.

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