The Egyptian Post Office Museums a prize gem of Central Cairo. The doors are kept closed and electricity urned off in-between visitors but once an entrance ticket is presented, the doors swing open like curtains onto a spectacular stage. Enter the world of communication.It was opened to the public in 1940 on the second floor at the Central Post Office as a stamps exhibit.
Over the years, the collection grew from a stamp exhibit to one that highlights communication from Pharaonic times and demonstrates the development of Egypt’s postal service through the centuries. The museum has more than 1200 exhibits arranged in sections – history of communication, transportation, postal equipment, local and foreign stamps, uniforms, postal buildings, rare letters and maps.
The museum is well-preserved and exhibits are maintained with obvious care. Leather mailbags, original postal uniforms, badges, seals of all shapes and sizes, and numerous letterboxes, three dating from 1894, are examples of various postal paraphernalia. In rural areas of Egypt, official duties were the responsibility of the ruling elder, thus letters were posted and collected from his personal house. On display is an over-sized wooden letterbox that would have stood inside the house of the village-head.
There is a not-to-be-missed glass case of miniature statues of postal workers with examples of uniforms worn in Roman times to the present, as well as original postal apparel from Egypt and around the world. Valuable collections of stamped envelopes from foreign countries along with a sweeping display of commemorative stamps – King Farouk’s coronation and the first Egyptian stamp collection (1867-69) – and local stamps with Pharaonic Islamic, and Coptic designs are samples of this vast collection. At the far end of the room is a stamp mosaic made from 15,000 identical stamps.
Each individual, post-marked stamp has the same picture of the tapestry a pyramid and the Sphinx. The desk and chair stationed in front of this stamp tapestry are those of the first postmaster in Egypt, Jacob Muzzi, an Italian.Postal distribution is a particularly important part of the museum’s exhibit. Glass cases contain miniature scenes and models of ways by which messages were distributed since Pharaonic times to the present. The Post Office Museum is an off-the-beaten-path excursion that children from five- years old to adults will enjoy.
The Post Office Museum is located at the Central Post Office on Midan al-Ataba.. To buy a ticket, go through the door marked “Main Post Office”and purchase tickets at the commemorative stamp office, on your right.Tickets cost 50 piasters for Egyptians and 2LE for foreigners. Return to the sidewalk and enter the door marked “L’Organisme Nationale des Postes’.The museum is on the second floor, The museum is open Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 3pm. Telephone: +(202) 2391-3128. Formore information about unfrequented museums in Cairo, purchase Cairo, The Family Guide (3rd edition), American University in Cairo Press.