Meeting Owney “In Person” at the National Postal Museum
We recently went to Washington, DC to meet a “personage of high rank” who currently resides in the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum: Owney the Postal Dog!
When we started our book project, we were fascinated by the idea of Owney being a historical figure we could still “meet;” thanks to the initiative of postal workers all over the country who, after his death in 1897, chipped in to have Owney stuffed by a taxidermist, our book's protagonist has been on display since 1911.
The Postal Museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Washington. Housed in a beautiful building that once served as the city's main post office, it is dedicated to the preservation and study of postal history. Its collection consists of the Smithsonian philatelic collection as well as interactive displays about the history of the US Postal Service, from the era of the Pony Express to the latest technologies to stop mail crime.
Owney, of course, has his pawprints everywhere; he’s definitely the star of the museum! While there, we met with Emily Murgia, the Museum's interim Director of Education, who was gracious enough to show us around and introduce us to the Owney display. It was very exciting to meet Owney "in the fur" and to see his collection of tags up close. And if you're wondering how the 120+ year-old dog is holding up, not to worry - he looks great, thanks to a restoration he underwent in 2011 (yes, he's had work done)!