The modest scale of this art–usually less than 2 square inches–is no barrier to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, which has launched an online exhibition, “The American Indian in Stamps: Profiles in Leadership, Accomplishment and Cultural Celebration.” And for the first time the National Postal Museum turned to another museum, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, for help in adding history and cultural context to one of its exhibitions.
“We have about six million objects and a small space so we can’t display most of them,” said Thomas Lera, who is the Winton M. Blount Research Chair at the National Postal Museum. “That’s why we have decided to digitize our collection. It’s a great tool for people, like kids who want to do a report. They can go on the website. It’s American history in the mail.”
“The American Indian in Stamps” can only be viewed at www.postalmuseum.si.edu/ARAGOAmericanIndian. It features colorful images of 40 of the approximately 70 stamps that the U.S. Postal Service has issued featuring Native Americans since 1875.
For more on the subject, see Stamps Honor Indians.