Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum Director Allen Kane to Retire

Allen Kane

[Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum press release]

Allen Kane, Director of the National Postal Museum (NPM) will be retiring in January 2017.  Allen became director of the NPM in 2002 after serving more than 30 years with the United States Postal Service (USPS) in a variety of senior leadership positions.  At the USPS, one of the accomplishments of which Allen is proudest was his management of the Gulf War Crisis Team, which ensured the successful delivery of 2.5 million pounds of mail per day to US troops.

National Postal Museum.
Image courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño.

In his fourteen-year tenure at the Postal Museum, Allen has overseen many remarkable exhibitions and public programs while also making the museum a world-renowned research resource.  His most notable accomplishment was the development and opening of the William H. Gross Gallery in 2013, which doubled the size of the Museum and made the NPM the largest center for philately in the world.

During his tenure, the NPM exhibited many rarely seen and internationally famous stamps, as well as important collections such as the Benjamin Miller Collection and the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II.  He arranged for the long term loan of the U.S. Postmaster General’s collection and for the acquisition of the world’s rarest stamp, the British Guiana 1-Cent Magenta. The award-winning collections website Arago made its debut during Allen’s tenure, providing unprecedented access to the philately and postal history collections of the Museum and encouraging expert involvement in their curation. The NPM built on that participatory model in developing website features for acquiring oral histories of postal workers and for documenting the incredibly broad and robust mailing industry. Allen strongly encouraged research and educational programs with sister Smithsonian museums, readily welcomed school groups, initiated the building of the Byrne educational loft, and began the Maynard Sundman lecture series.

Most recently, Kane led a major research effort to tell the story of “America’s Mailing Industry,” partnering with mailing industry associations, the U.S. Postal Service and hundreds of companies in the industry. The research project launched as a virtual exhibition and will also include a physical exhibition at the museum in Washington, D.C.
Kane’s ability to run a cost-effective operation utilizing a large number of volunteers to supplement a small staff resulted in enormous progress for the museum, including unprecedented brand image and public relations outreach.

About the National Postal Museum:
The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue N.E., Washington, D.C., across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). For more information about the Smithsonian, please call (202) 633-1000 or visit the museum website at

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