philatelic field trip

October 4, 2011

Last Friday, Adam and I drove past the Singapore Philatelic Museum on the way home. We hadn’t planned to stop, but when Adam heard me point it out and mention that I’d been meaning to go there and hunt for vintage stamps, he immediately pulled over and offered to take me. Boy, he’s charming.

We must have just missed Notabilia and her mother, who were also there that day. For an on-topic overview, I suggest reading about the highlights of her visit here. I ended up getting sidetracked and focusing on completely non-stamp-related displays, which means our experiences (though no doubt equally pleasant) were totally different.

So how does one go to a philatelic museum and zone out on the stamps? When one is obsessing over old letters, obviously. The brilliant specimens of calligraphy and wax seals that adorned each of them just took my breath away.

One of the best things about the museum is how diligently the curators and exhibit designers underscore the theme of stamps as windows to the past.

The Heritage Room in particular, though largely unrelated to philatelia, paints a richer picture of bygone eras than one expects from a specialty museum – a thoughtful and interactive way of fleshing out the nation’s backstory for foreigners and locals alike. I say interactive because we may or may not have banged on some display drums, paged through an old calendar and manhandled some clogs while in there. I’ll never tell.

After our tour through the museum, Adam and I finally remembered what we were there for and hit the gift store in search of vintage stamps. Remember my distress over the somewhat questionable stamps I sent my engagement invitations out with? Lets just say that episode left me determined – determined – to ensure our wedding invitations didn’t face the same fate. I’d picked out about twenty beautiful stamps before Adam tapped me on the shoulder:

“Honey? Shouldn’t you maybe design the invitations before you buy stamps to…uh…match?”

Charming and smart. Damnit.

Vintage stamps, I will be back.