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Home > Curator's Corner > January 2010 > Rediscovering Hidden Treasures
Rediscovering Hidden Treasures
Intrepid Teens Blog
Posted: 1/26/2010 11:03:31 AM

Like most museums, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum has thousands of artifacts but only the capacity to display a small percentage at a time. As a result, the Exhibits Department is constantly generating new ideas for future exhibitions as a way to bring new audiences to the Museum and encourage old visitors to return. Once in a while we rediscover collections of artifacts that have not been on public view for many years or that have never been displayed at all. During a recent inventory, we came across a large collection of original World War I and II era posters used for propaganda and military recruiting purposes. We believe these historically significant pieces could be the focus of future curatorial research or exhibition.

While many of the posters appear to have been displayed in the Museum’s past, we do not have a precise inventory of the collection. Exhibits staff and volunteers are currently working to photograph, measure, describe and research each poster individually. Documentation is the primary key to understanding museum collections. We hope to learn the significance of various poster designs and artists as we attempt to get a firm grasp on the extent of this collection. Above and below are some images of our staff cataloging the pieces, so you can appreciate the amount of work necessary to accomplish such tasks.

Since the pieces are so large (many of them exceeding 60 inches in length), our plan is to provide them with proper archival flat-file storage so they can be preserved for future generations. If we decide to display some of the posters, relevant themes that explore the content and context of the pieces need to be developed. So far, we are discovering that the collection of over 100 pieces is very broad in scope – ranging from WWI-era recruiting posters designed by famous artists, such as Howard Chandler Christy, to WWII-era German propaganda posters. As this exciting project moves forward, we hope to learn more about the history and significance of these posters, ultimately sharing what we learn with our visitors.

Britta K. Arendt
Collections Manager