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CANADIAN POSTAL MUSEUM, GATINEAU

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Auteur: 
Matthew Farfan

Postal Museum banner, outside the spectacular Canadian Museum of Civilization complex. (Photo - Matthew Farfan)Stamp collectors from novice to expert -- or indeed anyone interested in the history of the postal system -- will enjoy a visit to the Canadian Postal Museum. Opened in 1974, the Postal Museum has occupied a portion of level two in the Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC) in Gatineau since 1997.

The mission of the museum may be simply put: “to tell the story of postal communications in Canada and throughout the world.” The museum’s collection covers ancient and modern history, science and technology, philately, fine art, architecture, folk art, and the decorative arts, and comprises over 150,000 items -- including tens of thousands of philatelic items.A postal jeep is one of the many full-sized artifacts on display within the museum. (Photo - Matthew Farfan)

As the visitor will see instantly upon arrival, the museum’s collection is diverse and far from limited to postage stamps. Artifacts, in fact, are divided into several broad categories: objects associated with the creation of a message (such as a portable writing desk and writing tools belonging to Sir Sandford Fleming, designer of Canada's first postage stamp); objects associated with the mailing of messages (such as letter boxes, postage stamps, post office wickets, and so on); objects associated with the sorting of messages (such as cancellation hammers); objects associated with the routing and delivery of messages (such as letter carrier uniforms, a postal jeep, and so on); and objects associated with the receipt of messages (such as elements of post office architecture, mail boxes, post office signs, and so on).

Stamps are, of course, a major part of the collection. (Photo - Matthew Farfan)

The Canadian Postal Museum features a number of permanent exhibitions. Signed, Sealed, Deliveredis a major permanent exhibition on Canadian postal history. Featuring 400 artifacts, it demonstrates the important role that the post has played in Canadian history. Stamp Quest is a hands-on introduction to stamps and stamp collection. What's New in Philately presents new Canadian stamps as they are issued.Reflections of Canada is a display of every stamp (nearly 2,500!) ever issued in Canada and the provinces. Filling the walls of an entire room, the exhibition is an amazing sight for any collector who has ever tried to accomplish this feat.

An early letter-carrier’s sleigh. (Photo - Matthew Farfan)

Temporary, thematic exhibitions are also presented regularly. Postage Stamps: Images of a Country, Postal Pop Culture, and The Rural Post Office are examples of current and future exhibitions. In addition, the Canadian Postal Museum also hosts regular workshops, performances, and other special activities. Visitors may also take a “Postal Pop Quiz” based on what they have learned in the Museum.The Canadian Postal Museum is located just across the Interprovincial Bridge at 100 Laurier Street, in Gatineau. Opening hours are the same as those of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and entry to the CMC includes admission to the Postal Museum.

For fees, opening hours, and current exhibitions, call (819) 776-8200, email cpm.mcp@cmcc.muse.digital.ca, or click here: www.civilization.ca/cpm.html.