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 6 of 6)

  • 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
  • United Airlines - Las Vegas
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: United Airlines Inc.
    Date: 1975
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • 75 Years of Powered Flight
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Artist: Letizia Pitigliani
    Manufacturer: Pace Editions
    Sponsor: United Airlines Inc.
    Credit Line: Bequest of Melvin Buchner.
    Date: 1978
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • United Airlines Celebrate a proud land born 200 years ago
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: United Airlines Inc.
    Credit Line: Copyright United Airlines, 1975.
    Date: 1975
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • United Airlines The Magnificent Sevens
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Sponsor: United Airlines Inc.
    Date: 1995
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • United Airlines 747-400
    Sponsor: United Airlines Inc.
    Date: circa 1974
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality