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 12)

  • Join the R.A.A.F Back Them Up!
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Australia
    Manufacturer: Chromoworks Ltd.
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Sponsor: Royal Australian Air Force
    Credit Line: Donated by Mrs. Mary E. "Mother" Tusch
    Date: 1943
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Manufacturer: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways & Associated Companies
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Credit Line: Found in Collection. Donor unknown. No known restrictions.
    Date: 1938
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways The Most Luxurious Flying Boat in the world
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer: Ben Johnson & Co., Ltd.
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Other: Stuarts Advertising Agency
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways L'Hydravion des routes d'Empire-28 en cours de Construction
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer: Ben Johnson & Co., Ltd.
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways L'Hydravion des routes d'Empire-28 en cours de Construction
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways One of the 28 Empire Flying Boats
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer: Ben Johnson & Co., Ltd.
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways - An Ensign Airliner for European Services
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer: Ben Johnson & Co., Ltd.
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Other: Stuarts Advertising Agency
    Date: 1938
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways The Frobishers, Fastest British Air Liners
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer: Ben Johnson & Co., Ltd.
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Other: Stuarts Advertising Agency
    Date: 1939
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways, An Ensign Air Liner for Empire Services
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer: Ben Johnson & Co., Ltd.
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Manufacturer: Stuarts Advertising Agency
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality