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 17)

  • Mexico - American Airlines
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Artist: Loweree
    Date: circa 1950
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • American Airlines Mexico
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Al Parker, American, 1906 - 1985
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Date: circa 1950
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • American Airlines Sky Lounge, DC-7 Flagship
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Artist: Glen Embree-Paul Hesse Studios
    Date: ca 1956
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • American Airlines New Reduced Fares
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • American Airlines Non-Stop New York to Chicago
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Date: 1937
    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 Washington
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Artist: Laurence Gaynor
    Date: circa 1963
    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
  • American Airlines Toronto Canada
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Date: circa 1967
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • American Airlines San Francisco
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • American Airlines New York New York
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: American Airlines, Inc.
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality