OTD: Former National Postal Museum curator dies

On today’s date in 2018, Jim Brennan, a long-time philatelist and Ottawa Philatelic Society member, died after a short bout with cancer.

Brennan, who was 77 at the time of his death, joined the newly formed National Postal Museum as a researcher in the early 1970s. He eventually became the museum’s head curator before joining the National Archives of Canada (now Library & Archives Canada) to further pursue his work in philately plus a new career in fine art, “one of his life’s great passions,” according to Brennan’s 2018 obituary. Before his 2005 retirement, Brennan spent 11 years at the National Archives as an art archivist in the documentary art and photography division.

Born and raised in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood, Brennan studied history and fine art at the University of Toronto, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in 1973 before joining the National Postal Museum.

Brennan’s visitation was on April 10, 2018, followed by a service at St. Patrick’s Basilica one day later.

In 2014, the Canadian Museum of History launched the ‘Canadian Stamp Collection,’ a permanent exhibition featuring material from the former Canadian Postal Museum, which closed in 2012.


In 1996, the National Postal Museum changed its name to the Canadian Postal Museum; however, it closed its doors less than a decade later in November 2012.

Finally, in 2014, the museum was repurposed as a permanent exhibition at the Canadian Museum of History. The exhibition features all of the stamps issued in present-day Canada since 1851, when the first issue from what was then the Province of Canada featured an industrious beaver.

Artifacts from the museum’s former collection are also used to illustrate the stories behind the creation of some of Canada’s most memorable stamps, including the stained-glass window reproduced on the 1976 nativity stamp and a quilt replicated on the 1996 Canada Day stamp.

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