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 4 of 4)

  • Tasman Empire Airways Limited
    Country of Origin: New Zealand
    United Kingdom
    Australia
    Sponsor: Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL)
    Date: circa 1940
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Tasman Empire Airways Limited
    Country of Origin: New Zealand
    Australia
    United Kingdom
    Sponsor: Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL)
    Date: circa 1940
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • NAC At your service
    Country of Origin: New Zealand
    Sponsor: New Zealand National Airways Corporation
    Date: circa 1952
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Stewart Island New Zealand
    Country of Origin: New Zealand
    Sponsor: Southern Air
    Date: ca 1980
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality