Hello, reader! Thanks for clicking to this continuation of the series where we visit international postal museums. Previous cities include: London, Paris, Washington D.C, and Dublin. In this post we'll talk about the extra special touch of visiting the Museum fur Kommunikation (Museum for Communication) in Berlin, Germany with not just one but two pen pal friends. Read on for pen friends meeting in person and some of the fascinating pieces we found in the Museum fur Kommuinikation.
The lovely Liz surprised Alex and I with gifts of 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' tote bags from the London Postal Museum.
Pen Friends Meet Up:
The summer of 2023 has been a big one for pen pal meet ups around the world, including for us! Alexandra and I became pen pals during COVID thanks to the "Penpalooza" project on Twitter. We exchanged letters during the lockdowns and have kept at it since. This August three pen pals met in the streets of Berlin -- Liz, Alexandra, and Liz! -- to take the city (and it's postboxes) by storm.
We had a fantastic day of exploring Berlin with Alexandra as our tour guide, who colored the already beautiful place with her stories. We played 'spot the postbox' as all three of us are avid 'Postbox Saturday' posters. Started by Dinah of The Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society, 'Postbox Saturday' is a tradition on social media to post a postbox on Saturdays! Another tradition started during COVID much like our pen paling, which continues to this day.
Our trip of course had to include a bit of postcard browsing as each of us keeps a healthy correspondence with several pen friends around the world, including each other. I doubt the bodega man had ever seen three women fawn over postcards quite like we did! My favorite part of postcard shopping while traveling is spending time browsing and listening to the little voice that pops up 'Oh, so-and-so would like this one'. To share that experience with friends who I often write when traveling was very special indeed.
Once we'd stocked up on letters for 'now' we headed off to the museum to learn more about the history of letters in Germany. I thoroughly enjoyed the Museum fur Kommunikation and their presentation of postal history as a tool of communication.
Letters to Note:
In the 'Chamber of Treasures' there were letter goodies aplenty! I was particularly struck by these letters which survived the explosion of the Hindenburg. Having survived the explosion these letters dating to 1937 were put in transparent folders and delivered to the recipients! How amazing it is to imagine the life of a letter this old and historic.
Next I was struck by an electronic postcard! The museum was a great showcase for the ways which innovation and invention have touched letter writing in the past, and whether they stuck or not. Electronic postcards never 'took off' according to the display, perhaps due to the association of the postcard as an affordable means of communication whereas electrifying it would have increased the expense? Or the luddite hopes, the magic of the postcard itself sustained the challenge and came out victorious. Whatever the reason, the result is no less interesting.
Accessories to Admire:
Chances are if you're reading this post you are a letter writer or at least appreciate the letter. Many letter writers also become letter accessory collectors. Whether it's fountain pens or wax seals, the variety of implements throughout history which have become an art form of themselves for their relationships to letters is seemingly without limit!
All in all the Museum fur Kommunikation joins its brethern for a fun and interactive space. Great for all generations, the museum welcomes visitors of all ages to engage with the curiosity of communication and what it means today against history. If you're headed to Berlin any time soon, add this museum to your list but I can promise it will be even better with pen friends along.
Get in Touch.
Would you travel the world to see postboxes and postal museums? You're in the right place! Share your thoughts on letters with a note to us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!