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Visiting Washington's National Postal Museum
6 Aug 2014

Want to learn all about US mail? The National Postal Museum in Washington is the place for you.

The museum, on Massachusetts Avenue, opens every day (other than Christmas Day), 10am until 5.30 pm.

It has one of the globe's biggest collections of stamps and postal items.

The attraction recently brought out an app that could help with your visit.

Users get extra interactive fun from the software, which ties in with its Mail By Rail and Pacific Exchange: China & U.S. Mail exhibitions.

The free augmented reality app, MagnifiAR, is available on iPads and iPhones.

Visitors use it by pointing the device camera at certain items in the exhibitions. This brings about videos, trivia, pictures and games on-screen.

“This new app encourages families to engage with exhibit artifacts in a fun new way at the National Postal Museum,” museum director Allen Kane explained.

An example of the app in use in the Pacific Exchange: China & U.S. Mail display is that, when someone using the app finds a set of Chinese Giant Panda stamps, they can connect to live panda cams and watch real life examples of the creatures at the National Zoological Park.

In Mail By Rail, if an app user activates the software using the right photo, they get a video about onboard mail sorting on trains.

Don't have a compatible iOS device for the app? Don't worry! It's possible to borrow an iTouch running the software at the venue using your appropriate photo ID.

And as museum education director Allison Wickens explains, even people in their own homes can try the app on animal stamps displayed on the Postal Museum's website.

The National Postal Museum is one of a range of Smithsonian museums in Washington, which also includes attractions like the National Portrait Gallery.ADNFCR-408-ID-801740449-ADNFCR

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