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 7 of 7)

  • Experience Capazza
    Country of Origin: France
    Manufacturer: Imprimerie Clement
    Pilot: Louis Capazza, 1862-1928
    Date: 1892
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • The May Century
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Century Magazine
    Artist: Charles Herbert Woodbury, 1864 - 1940
    Date: 1897
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Balloon Park The Only Enterprise of This Kind in America
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Pilot: Jules Gourier
    Publisher: Shober & Carqueville
    Date: 1892
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Zooligischen Garten
    Country of Origin: Germany
    Other: Kathchen Paulus, 1868-1935
    Date: June 21, 1896
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • La Boule de Neige
    Country of Origin: France
    Artist: A. Farradesche
    Charles Louis Auguste Weisser, 1864-1940
    Date: circa 1898
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Jardin d'Acclimatation Ascensions Gratuites
    Country of Origin: France
    Artist: A. Farradesche
    Charles Louis Auguste Weisser, 1864-1940
    Date: 1898
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Cirque d'Eté
    Country of Origin: France
    Date: circa 1890
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality