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William H. Gross Gallery Opens

(Click Pictures for a Larger View)

"Oh, my goodness! This is so incredibly awesome!"
— National Postal Museum Chief Curator of Philately Cheryl Ganz, asked for her reaction to the opening of the William H. Gross Gallery, September 22, 2013.
A large crowd was waiting to enter the National Postal Museum before its 9:30 a.m. opening.

The upstairs (or ground floor) foyer, reminiscent of classic 1930s-era city post offices, now also boasts video presentations such as this one. They act as "teases" for the museum.
Chief Curator of Philately Cheryl Ganz calls these transparencies of famous U.S. stamps on the windows of the Gross Gallery one of her favorite features. They serve two purposes: Announcing to the world that this is a stamp museum (at night the windows are backlit) but also to protect the rarities in the gallery from the harsh effects of sunlight.

Various Views of the New William H. Gross Gallery
"It's not just the world's largest postage stamp gallery. I think it's brought a new vision of how you reach young audiences. I think we've set a new standard and benchmark."
— Cheryl Ganz
The "Gems" gallery is kept dark; the displays only light up when someone passes in front of them, and no flash photography is permitted, making a clear photograph beyond my skills. This display shows visitors Bill Gross' block of four of Sc. C3a. The museum now has seven copies of the stamp.
The Smithsonian's own stamp collection has been remounted in new state-of-the-art pull-out frames. Steve Rod (pink shirt) and Roger Brody (brown jacket) discuss the rarities they're seeing.
On the other side are specialized collections, including some of the Postmaster General's Collection and another the NPM put together of first day covers for 2011's Owney the Postal Dog stamp. My Dragon Card is one of those FDCs.
"One of the officials told me last night there is nothing like this anywhere in the Smithsonian, and I couldn't ask for a better compliment."
— Cheryl Ganz
One of the opening-day events was a Design Your Own Stamp contest, with that table located within the Gross Gallery. There were some kids participating — when they could get the adults out of the way!

The Gross Gallery includes the museum-obligatory video mini-theater. Here, Mr. ZIP takes a break. We found out later that inside the costume was NPM Philatelic Curator Dan Piazza!

The Gross Gallery includes a working spider printing press, one of the types of presses once used to produce engraved stamps. It was being demonstrated by NPM volunteers.

Just down the hall from the Gross Gallery is the Postmaster's Gallery, once an office of the DC Postmaster. It also has displays of stamps, but just inside to the right is what appears to be an unlabeled closet...

...and inside that "closet" is the vault in which stamps were stored. Most visitors missed it.

Go to the next page for other pictures from the opening day of the Gross Gallery,
these taken on the lower or main floor of the National Postal Museum.

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