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 26)

  • Japan Air Amsterdam
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Sponsor: Japan Air Lines
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Manchurian Airline
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Credit Line: Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
    Date: circa 1930
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Regular Air Service Between Japan and Manchukuo
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Credit Line: Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
    Date: circa 1932
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Regular Air Service Between Japan and Manchukuo
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Credit Line: Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
    Date: circa 1932
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Regular Air Service Between Japan and Manchukuo
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Credit Line: Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
    Date: circa 1932
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Night Flying and the Beginning of Express Mail
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Credit Line: Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
    Date: circa 1933
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Air Travel Betwwen Tokyo and Toyama
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Credit Line: Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • A Single Stamp, Brilliant Aviation
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Sponsor: Japanese Ministry of Communication
    Credit Line: Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
    Date: circa 1938
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Defense of the Sky
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Artist: Arai
    Credit Line: FOUND IN COLLECTION. DONOR UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME. NO KNOWN RESTRICTIONS.
    Date: circa 1930
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Japan Air Transport Co., Ltd.
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Artist: Seiichi
    Credit Line: FOUND IN COLLECTION. DONOR UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME. NO KNOWN RESTRICTIONS.
    Date: circa 1930
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Super Express in the Sky
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Sponsor: Japan Air Transport Co.
    Credit Line: Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
    Date: circa 1938
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Manchurian Airlines Air Service Between Shinkyo and Ra-nan ("Nanam")
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Credit Line: Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
    Date: 1930s
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality