WASHINGTON -- The Smithsonian has appointed a former senior manager at the U.S. Postal Service to direct its National Postal Museum.
Allen Kane, 56, worked at the Postal Service for 30 years before retiring in September. "The Postal Service is in my blood," Kane said his first day on the job.
"I started as a trainee in the New York area and worked my way up to five vice president positions and two senior vice president positions. I have my heart and soul in the postal business, and this is a neat way to continue."
The Postal Museum was established by the Smithsonian in 1993 to give visibility to its substantial collections on the history of America's mail system, including its huge archives of philately. It has 16 million items, including postage stamps, letters, postcards, uniforms and mail planes.
The museum is housed in the ornate former City Post Office Building, next to Union Station on Capitol Hill.
The museum has suffered from modest attendance and low name recognition. In 2001, it had 376,808 visitors, making it one of the least-attended attractions in the Smithsonian lineup. Kane intends to address that directly. "One of the challenges is to get people to know we exist," he said.
Kane, who was born in Brooklyn, received a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and an MBA from Baruch Business School in New York.