Fly Now! The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection

Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."

Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.

The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.

Your Search Results (1 to 8 of 8)

  • Descente d'Absalon
    Country of Origin: Netherlands
    Publisher: Faddegon & Co.
    Other: Miss Stena
    Credit Line: Donor: Found in collection. Donor unknown at this time. Found on NASM premises
    Date: 1885
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • 2me Course de Ballons Montes
    Country of Origin: France
    Manufacturer: Morris Pere et Fils
    Date: October 14, 1888
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Conference sur la Navigation Aerienne
    Country of Origin: France
    Pilot: Gaston Tissandier, 1843 - 1899
    Date: August 1, 1886
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Grands Ballons de Nice
    Country of Origin: France
    Pilot: Eugene Godard, 1827-1890
    Date: 1884
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Grande Fete Foraine de Montmartre
    Country of Origin: France
    Date: 1885
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Argenteuil Fete de la Pentecote
    Country of Origin: France
    Artist: Alfred Henri Darjou, 1832-1874
    Pilot: Francois Lhoste, 1859-1887
    Date: 1886
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Fete de l'Oeuvre des Loyers
    Country of Origin: France
    Printmaker: Vadot
    Date: 1886
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • La Revanche
    Country of Origin: France
    Date: 1883
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality