Saturday, March 19, 2011

Poster Art

While I don't mention it often here, I do enjoy good graphic design, especially in poster art. The summer after I finished 9th grade, my family took a minorly epic road trip "out west" to visit the Grand Canyon, as well as a few other places. While Bryce Canyon still remains one of my favorite places on this earth, I also fell in love with the WPA poster re-prints we saw in gift shops throughout the National Parks we visited. I never bought one, mainly because they were too expensive for my poor 14-year-old self to afford, but I did get a postcard of the Glacier National Park poster (oddly, I've never been to Glacier, but it's on my to do list, since I always think it's weird that I bought that postcard, but I digress) and that satisfied me a bit.

Yesterday, though, my sister sent me a link to these amazing new posters developed for the Chugach and Tongass National Forests in Alaska (where she lives) in honor of 2011 as the International Year of Forests. Did you know that? Above is the "Find Your Inspiration" poster, and the design for all four is pretty much the same. It's a nice reminder that posters are art and that we should value the beautiful land that surrounds us. And, as spring approaches and the weather turns absolutely beautiful, step away from that computer and enjoy it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Best Museum You've Never Been To

The National Postal Museum. I'm sure you've never been to it, probably not really heard of it, but it very well may be my favorite of the Smithsonians. It gets short tourist shrift because it's not on the National Mall (probably contributing to my love of it because it's never crowded) and it's not very big. And, when people think about it, they don't really want to go to a museum that is about the mail. Who cares? You should.

It covers the history of mail delivery from the very beginnings of the colonies to how we deliver mail today. There are lots of great interactives, from timelines to a stagecoach you can climb into. (See above.) I learned that there were never ponies used in the Pony Express--shocking, right!? And tons of other really fun things can be learned, usually with a hands-on component.

If you can't get to the museum, they also have one of the most informative websites I've seen. Not always completely interactive, but you can learn how a family mailed their daughter to her grandparents because it was cheaper than buying her a train ticket. Plus, if you're into stamps, they have some very nice examples.

But, if you're not convinced yet, you can always follow Owney the Dog on Twitter. He's adorable and is getting his own stamp this year!