Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 49, pp10-11 (March 1999).
(translated and adapted by David Lamb)
The original Postal Museum in Andorra la Vella was opened on 19th April 1986, and was accomodated in the attic of the House of the Valleys, formerly the Councillors' dormitory above the main meeting room and Chapel. The growth in administrative activities in the House of the Valleys had led the authorities some years ago to require the attic for other uses.
The decision was therefore taken by M. Pere Canturri Montanya (Andorran Minister of Culture until May 1997) to establish a new museum in Ordino, where other museums were already established. The former Minister is already well-known in Andorran philatelic circles having, in 1997, presided over the launch of François Dupré's acclaimed booklet dealing with the early days of the French Postal Service in Andorra. The promised Catalan version of this work is now on sale in the Museum.
The new Museum is located in the "Borda del Raser" at the entrance to the village and is an extension to the Casa Plandolit. This historic house, built of the local stone, has been entirely rebuilt, and only the main original walls remain. The planning and establishment of the Museum was undertaken by M me Marta Planas de la Maza (Head of the Museums and Monuments Service within the Andorran Cultural Heritage Dept) in close collaboration with CIFA, particularly Agusti Font (President) and François Dupré (Secretary). The Museum is seen as one of the links in the cultural life of Andorra, and it supplements various areas of cultural activity already available. It also seeks to demonstrate the significance of the evolution of the Postal Services and their special relationship to Andorran society. Those in authority hope that one day the Postal Museum will be part of an Andorran National Museum which will develop cultural awareness amongst tourists, in schools and in the general public. It will seek to preserve, bring together and maintain the national heritage, particularly in regard to the written and spoken word.
The area devoted to displays covers some 2000 square feet over two levels. The upper floor deals with the development of written communication from its earliest days, and with the philatelic representation of Andorra. On the lower floor there is a display of all the stamps issued by each Postal Service, as well as maximum cards and special thematic displays which are changed from time to time. In addition, space is devoted to the technical side of stamp printing and production. Items from the collections of Augusti Font, Alec Jacques and François Dupré may be seen on each floor.
The architects, decorators and other workmen have spared no effort to produce a Museum of great quality and to a high order. As an introduction to the Museum, there is an audio- visual presentation which lasts about twenty minutes, and visitors can choose to hear it in either Catalan, Spanish, French or English.
The official inauguration took place at 8pm on 19th November, 1998, and present at the ceremony were, amongst others, M me Marta Planas (in charge of the project), M. Josep Duró (the Mayor of Ordino), M. Enric Pujal (Minister of Tourism and Culture), M. Francesc Areny (Sindic General), and the Curate of Ordino who gave a blessing of the Museum. After an introduction by M me Planas and a visit to the Museum, the assembled company of dignatories and visitors gathered in the adjoining Auditorium to hear speeches by M. Josep Duró, M. Enric Pujal and the Director of Culture, Christina Marti. The evening closed with a superb buffet.
The two commemorative stamps, one from each Postal Service, had been on sale to the general public since 3pm, together with First Day postmark facilities, all provided for at special temporary Post Office counters set up within the Auditorium. Two official envelopes, presented within a special folder, were also produced for the occasion by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
Official invitation adapted to make a dual First Day souvenir
(it is hoped to provide a colour illustration of this souvenir at a later date)
(The Editor wishes to thank both M. François Dupré and M. Clinton Geiser for the many press reports and photographs received. Some of these are illustrated below and it is hoped to publish them in the October 1999 issue of Valira Torrent.)
Museu Postal, Borda del Raser
First Day post offices in the National Auditorium
First day cover of the French Postal Service
First day card of the Spanish Postal Service
Part of the upper gallery
Part of the upper gallery
Early postmen worked on foot or with mules over difficult terrain
Exhibit illustrating the early history of postal communications
Display of maximum cards
Local postcards were often the source material for stamp designs
Censored covers from the Spanish Civil War and World War 2 period
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