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 8 of 8)

  • Panagra Chile
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    United States
    Sponsor: Pan American-Grace Airways Inc. (Panagra), 1929-1967
    Credit Line: National Air and Space Museum
    Date: circa 1965
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Le Grand Raid de L'Oiseau Blanc 8/9 Mai, 1927
    Country of Origin: United States
    Sponsor: Tighar
    Date: circa 1987
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Chile Fly Panagra
    Country of Origin: United States
    United States of America
    Artist: Gordon K. McCoun
    Sponsor: Pan American-Grace Airways Inc. (Panagra), 1929-1967
    Credit Line: National Air and Space Museum
    Date: 1964
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • TWA Hawaii
    Country of Origin: United States
    Sponsor: Trans World Airlines (TWA)
    Credit Line: Copyright 2007, American Airlines. Do not publish without permission. Donated by Roger Bentley.
    Date: circa 1986
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • TWA New York City
    Country of Origin: United States
    Sponsor: Trans World Airlines (TWA)
    Credit Line: Copyright 2007, American Airlines. Do not publish without permission. Donated by Roger Bentley.
    Date: circa 1986
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • TWA Paris
    Country of Origin: United States
    Sponsor: Trans World Airlines (TWA)
    Credit Line: Copyright 2007, American Airlines. Do not publish without permission. Donated by J. Roger Bentley.
    Date: circa 1986
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • TWA Spain
    Country of Origin: United States
    Sponsor: Trans World Airlines (TWA)
    Credit Line: Copyright 2007, American Airlines. Do not publish without permission. Donated by J. Roger Bentley.
    Date: circa 1986
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Fly Pan Am to Spain
    Country of Origin: United States
    Photographer: Krainin
    Sponsor: Pan American World Airways
    Credit Line: Copyright Pan American World Airways. Donated by Roger Bentley.
    Date: circa 1962
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality