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 41)

  • Stewart Island New Zealand
    Country of Origin: New Zealand
    Sponsor: Southern Air
    Date: ca 1980
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Voyager... Going the Distance
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Manufacturer: Teledyne Continental Motors (Mobile, Alabama)
    Credit Line: COPYRIGHT TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES INC., 1987
    Date: 1986
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • ICAO-OACI-UKAO 1944-1984
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Hans Erni, 1909-
    Sponsor: ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization)
    Date: 1984
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Le Grand Raid de L'Oiseau Blanc 8/9 Mai, 1927
    Country of Origin: United States
    Sponsor: Tighar
    Date: circa 1987
    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
  • Saint Petersburg Flight of the Benoist 1914-1984
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Gowans
    Date: 1984
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Poster, Military Aviation
    Country of Origin: Switzerland
    Sponsor: Swiss Air Force
    Date: circa 1980
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Singapore Airlines 40 Years in Aviation
    Country of Origin: Singapore
    Sponsor: Singapore Airlines
    Date: 1987
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Superbowl XVIII
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: United Air Lines
    Credit Line: Official 1984 Joe Theismann's Redskin Report Super Bowl XVIII Poster. All Rights Reserved.
    Date: 1983
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • United Airlines Royal Pacific Service
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: United Airlines Inc.
    Credit Line: FOUND IN COLLECTION.
    Date: circa 1986
    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
  • Mexicana A Flying Success for 60 Years
    Country of Origin: Mexico
    Sponsor: Mexicana Airlines
    Date: 1921-1981
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality