The Smithsonians National Postal Museum and the National
Museum of the American Indian are continuing to update a digital
collection of stamps, The American Indian on Stamps: Profiles
in Leadership, Accomplishment and Cultural Celebration.
collection first appeared in November in recognition of Native American
Heritage Month, and it has received updates with new information
presentation currently highlights 40 of approximately 70 stamps
the U.S. Postal Service has issued related to Native Americans since
1875, according to postal museum officials.
are now in the process of creating more pages containing cultural
information related to the Indian-focused stamps on display. The
additions should be uploaded shortly and will integrate seamlessly
into the existing collection.
Web sites technology allows visitors to magnify images to
almost the size of their computer screen and see details similar
to an in-person viewing.
collection is intended to be user-friendly. Thus, if a visitor wants
to learn more about the 29-cent Sacagawea stamp displayed on the
homepage of the exhibit, he or she would simply click on the image,
which leads to more historical information about the stamp, as well
as a zoom page, which allows magnification of intricate details,
like stitching and beadwork.
another page, later in the collection, readers can learn about Sacagaweas
Shoshone heritage and see cultural artifacts relating to her tribe
and others from her region, which can also be zoomed into higher
resolutions with a few mouse clicks.
of the stamps are accompanied by information about the artists and
mediums used to create them. Like the Sacagawea stamp, some are
juxtaposed with objects and historical images from the vast collections
of the most intriguing aspects of this one-of-a-kind Web site is
that it shows the American Indian presence on stamps for over a
century, alongside objects that inspired their creation, said
Kevin Gover, the Pawnee/Comanche director of the NMAI.
Lera, a research specialist at the postal museum who helped create
the collection, said the site has already proven to be a popular
tool for stamp collectors, historians and students. He estimated
thousands of users have visited the virtual collection since it
went live last fall.
said the average length people spent viewing the online collection
has tended to be much longer than the average amount of time a person
spends at a single Web site. He likened the experience to getting
caught up in a good book.
a good starting point for learning. The site has plenty of references
and citations to direct to other readings and learning materials.
noted that the collection not only highlights historical Indian
achievements, but also contemporary developments, like modern textile
making and Indian sporting contributions.
said the collection will continue to be displayed online for many
years to come, and will be further highlighted in ensuing Native