Interview: Cheryl Ganz, Lead Curator of the William H Gross Stamp Gallery

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03 July 2013
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We spoke to the inspirational Cheryl Ganz, Lead Curator of the state-of-the-art William H Gross Stamp Gallery which is about to open in Washington DC… ...
After a few minutes of talking with Cheryl Ganz you can’t help but get excited about the new William H Gross Stamp Gallery, set to open in September.

Named after its primary benefactor, the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery is the world’s largest gallery dedicated to philately.

The new gallery features the following six thematic areas:

  •  World of Stamps
  •  Gems of American Philately
  •  Mail Marks History
  •  Connect with US Stamps
  •  National Stamp Salon
  •  Stamps Around the Globe



Read excerpts from our interview with the Chief Curator of Philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and Lead Curator of the new gallery here…

How does the new gallery compare with the philatelic exhibits at the National Postal Museum?
The current exhibits take up a very small amount of floor space, it’s really a corner in the museum. The new space is huge! It’s 10,000 square feet. We have multiplied the space so we can not only show more material but we can make it more engaging. Currently we have a room with pull-out frames; if you’re going to reach new audiences you’ve got to be more exciting than that.

Do you believe the new gallery will be the world's foremost philatelic attraction?
Oh yes I do. There's about 120 philatelic museums in the world most are just one room in a Post Office and attract between 5,000-10,000 visitors a year. We receive around half a million visitors a year but that’s going to go way up when we open the new gallery… Without doubt it’s going to be the worlds largest, but we’re doing something different, we're putting stamps in a historical context… we are connecting philately to the big picture of history.



Were stamp collectors consulted with regards to the new gallery?
Absolutely. I’m a lead curator of the gallery. We have a council of philatelists including the leading philatelists in the USA, they were with us to give feedback and input. We went to local collectors to do focus groups… we’ve reached out to every specialist in that area. The construction, design and implementation – $18million worth of investment – every penny was raised by philatelists.

In the philatelic community we are getting such a buzz from people who want to come. 22 people from China are coming in October to see new gallery. We'll be running more specialised tours. Clubs across USA want to come to DC.

This is incredibly exciting time in our hobby.

Find out how the Penny Black will feature in the new Gallery, how Cheryl believes philatelic museums around the world can benefit from the project, and much more in the full interview in the September issue of Stamp & Coin Mart.