National Air & Space Museum

Vintage travel posters to inspire a post-pandemic trip

Courtesy Boston Public Library

If you have been heeding the shelter-at-home advisories during this health crisis you may be organizing your photos and looking through scrapbooks from past trips.

Here’s something else to add your list: planning your next trip using the collections of vintage travel posters we came across while researching this fun story for AAA Washington as inspiration.

Here are some of the vintage travel poster images we enjoyed.

Smithsonian Institution Air & Space Museum

Courtesy National Air & Space Museum

About 1300 airline posters dating from the early 1920s to the present are on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum website.

SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport  

Courtesy SFO Museum

More than 1200 travel posters promoting global air travel are in the collection of the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport. Most are accessible online.

Boston Public Library

Courtesy Boston Public Library

More than 350 travel posters are in the collection of the Boston Public Library, which shares them on Flickr.

Library of Congress – WPA Travel Posters

Courtesy Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has hundreds of travel posters in its collection, including the now-iconic travel and tourism posters promoting national parks and other U.S. destinations made by artists hired by Works Projects Administration (WPA) from 1936 to 1943.

Space Tourism Posters

Why not consider a trip to space?

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers a series of specially-commissioned WPA-style posters promoting space tourism

What did Leonardo da Vinci know about airplanes?


courtesy Smithsonian Institution Library


The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will be displaying Leonardo da Vinci’s “Codex on the Flight of Birds,” from Sept. 13 until Oct. 22.

The Codex – an early notebook – was created ca. 1505 and shows that da Vinci had a keen interest in human flight.

He explored bird flight and behavior and made sketches and descriptions of devices and aerodynamic principles related to mechanical flight that predate the invention of the airplane by 400 years.

In addition to displaying the original notebook, the museum is setting up interactive stations that allow visitors to virtually leaf through the 18 folios (two-sided pages) of the Codex.

A model of an ornithopter, an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings, will be on view at the entrance of the exhibition. The model is based on a drawing by da Vinci.

Can’t make it to Washington D.C. during the 40 days of this special exhibition? Here’s a short video about the Codex.