Only until recent days, an ultimate aim of a museum has been to impart a sense of knowledge and deep understanding into certain subjects and topics of interest. With the rise of technology, museums today are radically transforming the people’s experience and along with the above two, they also impart inspiration. One such example is Postmuseum situated in the old town, Gamlastan.
Postmuseum was established in 1906 in the same building which dates back to 17th century which also used to be the capital’s only post office until 1869. This makes the Post museum to be one of the oldest museums in Stockholm.
Two external factors inspired me to visit this museum. One was the delivery cycle and the other being Riktiga Vykort – an app. The Delivery cycle is a no ordinary cycle. It is so carefully designed that it eliminates the stress on the postman and the compartments in the bicycle are ergonomically arranged. The application is a smart move by the Postal department to boost the use of postal system. Users can use their own pictures in their smartphone and send it as a postcard to the people they wanted. The bottom line here is Innovations! I fell in love with the postal department of Sweden and I understood that they are quite different and dynamic. Myself being an enthusiast of Postal system, (I used to send home a postcard on several occasions including birthdays and whenever I am in a new city, I send home a post card from that place, thereby having a big collection of postcards), I decided to pay a visit to Post Museum to understand further.
Some interesting points to note:
Although the postal activities existed as early as in the beginning of 17th century, the foundations of were laid in 1636. Before the establishment, much of the work was undertaken through farmers. Horse drawn carriages were deployed and because of bad roads, it took a long time for the parcels to reach.
Surprisingly, it was quick in winters because of the frozen lakes and streams and so these horses can be manoeuvred in the shortcut routes. These are clearly demonstrated in the post museum through artefacts.
One motivating factor to establish the postal system was that during the Swedish war, when King Gustav II Adolf was shot dead, it took several weeks for the message to reach stockholm. So a royal charter was passed and the postal system was established.
With the improvement of technology and upliftment of society, the postal service was also improved with the usage of all means of transport – be it boats, trains, and now through air to the latest usage of electric vehicles, making the process as environmental friendly as possible. Posten has to its credit that it has the highest number of electrically operated vehicles in the world.
Apart from the main activities, Postal service in Sweden was the first to publish newspaper in the name of “Ordinaries Post Tijdender”.
The post office was built in such a way that it was a place to hangout and chat to exchange news and information. Usually the retired soldiers became post masters and it was their home which was usually a post office. The post master puts up the names of the people who have got a mail in the board outside his home. People used to flock there enthusiastically to share news and catch up with new buddies!
Posten, the then Swedish Postal Network again differentiated itself in 2011. It established the Climate Foundation and the money was used to implement the ideas of the Posten employees. Almost 100 million Swedish Kronas was generated in one such year.
During the times of Industrial era, where there were shortage of men, Sweden was a bit clever in utilising the resources of women, who were mostly free at their homes. They also were happy with less wages.
Likewise, the innovations that happen in Postal department in Sweden are countless. One such big project was called “Letters to myself”.
In 1994, 20000 people were asked to write letters to themselves and the concept was that they shall get back in 20 years. “As said, they were exactly returned back to them in 2014 which created a lot of buzz”, says Lotte Edsbrandt, one of the directors of the museum as her face gleams with happiness and excitement. She also added that there were lot of emotional moments when some people wrote letters to their spouses and now they have been expired. Some of their letters are displayed in the exhibition and it was fun to read. You must visit it if you find time as these are soon gonna be removed!
Another engaging section in the museum is “The Little post Office”, an exclusive section for the kids where they can drive a postal van, learn to sort the cards and deliver them at the right place and make their own post cards.
If you think its the place only for kids, you might be wrong. There is another interesting section called “Hej”, where there are typewriters placed and you can type a letter and send to your loved ones! I typed a letter to my dad on his birthday and he was happy to read a typewrited one!
Listen to what Lotte says to me about the Museum,