Vol. 5 Num 244 Mon. January 31, 2005  
Star City

Postal Museum needs space

The Postal Museum at General Post Office (GPO) in Dhaka is unable to exhibit its entire collection due to the paucity of space.

The museum has only two rooms on the second floor of the GPO building.

"There are numerous mementoes like stamps and first day covers that were introduced after independence but we can not put them on display due to the lack of space," said Ahsanullah, supervisor of Postal Museum. He added that those items were kept in steel cabinets. "The authorities tried to start the museum by exhibiting old and exotic souvenirs thinking that would attract more visitors," added Ahsanullah.

The museum has postage stamps from around 98 countries under the Postal Union.

"I used to be a philatelist before I entered professional life. The stamps displayed here made me nostalgic," said Mohammed Milon, who works at the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board, while visiting the stamp galleries.

Stamps of different decades are not the only attraction. Letterboxes, weighing scales, franking machines also appeal to the visitors. The crown on top of the huge letterbox announces clearly that it belonged to the regime of Queen Victoria. The oldest weighing scale displayed at the museum was made around 1885. The old lanterns and candle cases are a must-see also.

"I have read about them and now I can visualise how grand they looked in the old days," said Syed Ashraf, a university student while pointing at the model of a Runner (post man). Few lines on postmen from works of famous poets are inscribed behind it. Ashraf said he was also thrilled to see the badge of a 'Boy Messenger' given to those who joined as under-age postmen.

Inaugurated on January 30, 1985, the museum on an average gets about ten visitors a day. It is open everyday except on Fridays. No entrance fee is charged.

"We do not want to earn any revenue from it but just want to continue displaying the items," said the supervisor. He said the museum does not get any funds from the government or the private sector.

He informed that the authorities were thinking of making more space for the museum.

"May be there will be a bigger building where the museum can be shifted from this office of the post master general," said Ahsanullah.

Letter boxes of various sizes and shapes used at different times are displayed. Those interested in stamp collecting can feast their eyes on the numerous stamps that had been issued throughout the years. An image of a 'Dak Harkara' (one who collects letters from one post office to the other) stands depicting one stage of the postal era. PHOTO: AKM Mohsin