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 12 of 59)

  • Some Big Things Count Too!
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Kelly Freas
    Date: 1971
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Reno 73 National Championship Air Races
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Date: 1973
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • The Anatomy of a Profitmaker
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Manufacturer: Boeing
    Date: circa 1970-1985
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Austrian Airlines Flugzeugtypen 1958-1971
    Country of Origin: Austria
    Sponsor: Austrian Airlines
    Manufacturer: Gerstmayer Ges. m.b.H.
    Date: 1971
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • American Airlines Philadelphia
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Date: March 1975-June 1976
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • American Airlines Endless Summer Curacao
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Artist: Unimark International, 1964-1977
    Date: circa 1971
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • American Airlines Endless Summer
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Artist: Unimark International, 1964-1977
    Credit Line: Found in Collection. Donor unknown. Copyright restrictions. As of 6/27/2005 contact Ip.Administrator@aa.com
    Date: 1970
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • British Airways London
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: British Airways Ltd.
    Date: 1972-1984
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Braniff International
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Braniff International Airways Co.
    Credit Line: All Logos and Trademarks still belong to "The Braniff trust," appointed by the U.S. Courts. Call Texas clearing house of Braniff International Airlines, Inc. (817) 571-6669
    Date: circa 1978
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Braniff International Let's Put Our Colors On the Line June 14-July 4, 1976
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Braniff International Airways Co.
    Credit Line: All Logos and Trademarks still belong to "The Braniff trust," appointed by the U.S. Courts. Call Texas clearing house of Braniff International Airlines, Inc. (817) 571-6669
    Date: 1975-1976
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • You Belong
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Ken Dallison
    Sponsor: Missouri National Guard
    Date: 1975
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Pan Am Bali
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Chermayeff and Geismar
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Date: 1970
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality