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 5 of 5)

  • Imperial Airways Services Acceleres
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Artist: Ben Nicholson, 1894-1982
    Manufacturer: Haycock Press
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Date: 1938
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways Faster Air Services
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Artist: Ben Nicholson, 1894-1982
    Manufacturer: Haycock Press
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Date: 1938
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways 28 Hydravions Type "Empire"
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Artist: Albert Victor Eugene Brenet, 1903-
    Manufacturer: Haycock Press
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways Luxury in the New Empire Flying Boats
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Artist: Chandler
    Manufacturer: Haycock Press
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Credit Line: Found in collection. Donor unknown at this time. Found on NASM premises.
    Date: 1936
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • IMPERIAL AIRWAYS
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Artist: Albert Victor Eugene Brenet, 1903-
    Manufacturer: Haycock Press
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Credit Line: Bequest of Melvin Buchner.
    Date: April 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality