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  • Writer's pictureFlea Market Love Letters

'Stamp of Approval': Visiting The National Print Museum.

It was the end of 2023 when a friend of the archive forward an article about an upcoming stamp exhibition at the National Print Museum in Dublin, Ireland. We took a trip over to the museum on a beautiful, sunny Tuesday late January afternoon to check out the exhibit and explore in detail some of the stamps (and stories) featured there.

"Miniature Masterpieces: 100 Years of Irish stamps" is a temporary exhibit at the Print Museum, curated in partnership with an archivist from An Post. Back in 2021 Flea Market Love Letters visited the G.P.O (or General Post Office) museum here in Dublin and wrote about our experience. This 'new' exhibit from the Print Museum and An Post is located on the upper most floor of the Print Museum.

The Print Museum is a true hidden gem, nestled back in Beggars Bush but nonetheless important for it. The impressive room is set up and displayed as a printing studio -- I believe, from the 1950s? -- and massive machinery dominates the first floor. Ironic when you consider the size of the materials those machines produced over time...from deeds and novels to newspapers and smaller.

When you climb the steps up to "Miniature Masterpieces" you are greeted by a well spaced and thoughtfully curated exhibit. I picked up a copy of the exhibit guide book from the museum gift shop. The guide book is very detailed and a must-have for the philatelist interested in Irish stamps. Well researched and presented, the guide book elaborated on many of the stamps on display.

In the past for Flea Market Love Letters we've talked about the history of the green postbox in Ireland. It was a pleasure to see this example of a 1998 sheet designed by 'Michael Craig' included in the exhibit, displaying the various types of postboxes found around Ireland.

At the end of the exhibit the Print Museum team even have a postbox where visitors can leave notes/reviews of the exhibit in an actual, retired postbox. This was in the children's area and a fun nod to the interactive nature of mail -- positioned next to a crafting table decorated with colored pencils and construction paper, it was wonderful to see the exhibit and the creative space merge.

Overall, we recommend this exhibit for those interested in Irish history, printing history, the art of stamp making, the social history within the imagery of stamps, and other intersections of interest with history and philately. Approachable and digestible, it is wonderful to see (free) exhibits like this made available to the public as a tool for educating and appreciating the 'simple' stamp.

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