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 22)

  • Norway via Pan American
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Date: circa 1948
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Paris. Jet Clipper Service Daily via Pan Am
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Aaron Fine
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Date: circa 1963
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Brussels. Pan American World Airways
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Date: circa 1951
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Pan Am Now Direct Service to Scandinavia by Clipper
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Jean Carlu, 1900 - 1997
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Credit Line: Cannot be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2007 Artist Rights Society, New York/ADAGP, Paris.
    Date: circa 1957
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Pan Am Madrid
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Aaron Fine
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Date: circa 1957
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Imperial Airways Bermuda in 5 Hours
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Artist: P. G. Lawler
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Date: 1938
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • To Mexico By Air American Airways System
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Date: 1934-1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Go Pan American
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Artist: von Arenburg
    Date: circa 1934
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Go Pan American
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Date: circa 1934
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Pan American Airways System
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Manufacturer: Select Printing Company
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Pan American Airways System
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Manufacturer: Select Printing Company
    Credit Line: Found in Collection. Donor unknown. No known restrictions.
    Date: 1931
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Pan American Airways On the Routes of the Flying Clipper Ships
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Kenneth Thompson, 1907-1996
    Sponsor: Pan American Airways
    Credit Line: FOUND IN COLLECTION.
    Date: circa 1936
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality