Dog Days of Summer Family Festival Coming to Smithsonian National Postal Museum

On behalf of Owney the Dog, our famed four-legged friend, the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum cordially invites you to the Dog Days of Summer Family Festival!

The program activities will take place throughout the museum on Saturday, July 28 and Sunday, July 29, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. both days.

Owney was a scruffy mutt taken in by the clerks at the Albany, New York post office in the late 1800s. Fond of sleeping and sitting atop mail bags, Owney began to accompany the mail carriers on their routes — by foot, on wagons and carriages and eventually on trains all across North America.

Lovable Owney became a national celebrity, delighting the public with stories of his adventures, and — if they were lucky — a visit by Owney himself!

In 1895, Owney even made a four-month, around-the-world trip aboard a mail steamship. The United States Postal Service commemorated Owney with his own postage stamp in 2011, celebrating this most fascinating postal pup in a most postal way.

Inspired by Owney’s remarkable life, the Dog Days of Summer Family Festival highlights his travels, as well as explores the unique role that animals have played in the postal system over time.

For the second year, we’ve teamed up with Amtrak Police for demonstrations throughout the day showcasing the work of the intelligent and hardworking K-9 units.

We’re also proud to host local animal welfare organizations such as Homeward Trails Animal Rescue for an Adoption Fair on Saturday.

Join us for a fun weekend of educational and hands-on activities at your neighborhood museum! The program is free, open to all ages and includes the following activities;

Adoption Fair

Owney the Dog made the Albany, New York post office his home, but not every pup is as lucky.

From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, our program partners will be outside on the museum Terrace with rescue dogs and cats in need of their forever homes.

Even if you’re not looking to adopt, come say hi to our furry friends, who will certainly appreciate your affection and attention!

K-9 Demonstration with Amtrak Police

While U.S. mail is mainly moved by trucks and planes these days, there are still some courier companies using trains to transport packages and other items.

USPS worked with Amtrak for many years and benefited from the diligent work of law enforcement and K-9 units as they not only protected people on board, but also cargo and mail.

Sergeant Micah Jones from the Amtrak Police Department and his partner, Summer the Labrador, will demonstrate their patrol routine at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

Scavenger Hunt

Embark on a topical Scavenger Hunt throughout the entire museum, locating objects relating to dogs and other animals, planes, trains, automobiles and more! Participants will receive a medal of completion after finishing their journey.

Tracking Paws: Map Owney’s Travels

Cities and townships often presented Owney with a small tag to remember them by. Owney’s widespread travels left him with almost 400 tokens and tags from all the different places he visited. Track Owney’s paws by examining these tags and identifying the cities and towns on a big map!

Make an Owney Puppet

Owney often followed postal clerks on their travels. Create your own Owney puppet to accompany you through the festival! Design your paper puppet however you want and adorn your dog’s collar with tags marking his travels, just like the real Owney!

Mule Mail Challenge

In Supai, Arizona, mules deliver mail to a small village located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. See if you are up for the challenge by trying our agility course which simulates the mule mail route. Compete with your friends or family members to see which one of you can deliver mail the fastest to the bottom of the Canyon!

Story Corner

Join us for a special story time about Owney the Dog and other animals that also help carry mail. Story time begins every half hour in the Atrium.

Owney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch by Mona Kerby

Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings

Owney the Dog Mo-‘woof’-vie Theater

In our temporary Mo’woof’vie Theater, watch the true story of Owney come to life with beautiful animation, a fun (and historically accurate) story, and the grandfatherly baritone of Trace Adkins! Sing along to a catchy theme song, “The Owney Song.”

Ice Pops Give Away

Beat the heat with a refreshing ice pop! Claim your frosty treat as you take a break from activities, or to wrap up your time at the museum. Ice pops are available while supplies last; please limit one per person.

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