Free to Use and Reuse – and Animate! A Parade of Posters

A French poster from the early 1900s advertises noodles and pasta using images of celebrities, some holding packages of the product.

This month, we’re highlighting selections from the Library’s vast international poster collection on our Free to Use and Reuse page – and an animation contest.

The posters we’re showcasing – on themes from travel, sports and entertainment to consumer goods and more – reflect a special collaboration between the Library and Poster House, a new museum that will open in New York City next year. The museum’s staff worked closely with specialists from the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division to select the 31 posters featured. Each connects in some way to a global cultural event or trend from the 1890s through the 1960s.

A pair of skiers promotes the Jantzen skiwear brand in this 1947 poster.

Poster House now invites you to re-imagine the selected posters using digital animation: Can you tease new meaning out of a scene? Can you illuminate something interesting? Can you make viewers laugh?

The contest is open to students, professionals and amateurs alike. Download high-res images of the posters on the Library’s free-to-use page, and get to work!

Poster House will accept submissions starting in December, and a panel of judges from the design, advertising and poster communities will decide on 20 favorite animations in the spring. Winners will be displayed digitally in Poster House’s exhibition window on 23rd Street in New York leading up to the museum’s opening in spring 2019.

Address your questions about the contest to [email protected].

To find out more about the Library’s poster collection and the highlighted posters, read this blog post from the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division.

Scroll down to enjoy more examples of featured posters!

A 1947 poster humorously recalls the well-known image of George Washington crossing the Delaware River – but in this case the river is filled with cherry pies.

A 1941 poster promotes the health benefits of drinking milk.

A theatrical poster from the 1890s features magician Harry Kellar.

This 1903 poster advertises Swiss chocolate.

A 1950s poster glamorizes air travel to Chicago.

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