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 21)

  • This is a man's job! Join the R.A.A.F.
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Australia
    Sponsor: Royal Australian Air Force
    Artist: Walter Jardine, 1884-1970
    Credit Line: Donated by Mrs. Mary E. "Mother" Tusch
    Date: 1941
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Join the R.A.A.F Back Them Up!
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Australia
    Manufacturer: Chromoworks Ltd.
    Artist: James Gardner, 1908-1995
    Sponsor: Royal Australian Air Force
    Credit Line: Donated by Mrs. Mary E. "Mother" Tusch
    Date: 1943
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Join the R.A.A.F. - Back them Up!
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Australia
    Artist: Charles E. Turner, 1893-1965
    Manufacturer: Chromoworks Ltd.
    Sponsor: Royal Australian Air Force
    Credit Line: Donated by Mrs. Mary E. "Mother" Tusch
    Date: circa 1940
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Join the R.A.A.F Back them Up!
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Australia
    Manufacturer: Chromoworks Ltd.
    Artist: Jobson
    Sponsor: Royal Australian Air Force
    Credit Line: Donated by Mrs. Mary E. "Mother" Tusch
    Date: circa 1943
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Back them Up!
    Country of Origin: Australia
    United Kingdom
    Manufacturer: Chromoworks Ltd.
    Sponsor: Royal Australian Air Force
    Artist: W. Krogman
    Credit Line: Donated by Mrs. Mary E. "Mother" Tusch
    Date: 1941
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • On To Victory
    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Australia
    Sponsor: Royal Australian Air Force
    Credit Line: Donated by Mrs. Mary E. "Mother" Tusch
    Date: 1943
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • 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
  • Quantas Empire Airways New Reduced Fares
    Country of Origin: Australia
    Sponsor: Imperial Airways
    Qantas Empire Airways, 1934 - 1939
    Date: circa 1938
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • TAA Trans Australia Airways Travel Across Australia
    Country of Origin: Australia
    Sponsor: Trans-Australia Airlines
    Artist: Warner
    Date: circa 1948
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Quantas Empire Airways in Association With Imperial Airways Fly British Across the World
    Country of Origin: Australia
    Sponsor: Qantas Empire Airways, 1934 - 1939
    Artist: Russell Roberts Studios
    Credit Line: Found in Collection. Donor unknown. No known restrictions.
    Date: 1937
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
  • Australia Fly Qantas
    Country of Origin: Australia
    Sponsor: Qantas (Queensland & Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd.)
    Credit Line: Gift of the Washington Airline Society
    Type: ART-Posters, Original Art Quality