Skip to Content

FAQ My collection design process through American Eagle Propaganda

1 Favorite 2 Copies (view)
Other
I wanted to create a collection of propaganda posters. You can see my first attempt in my larger collection of propaganda posters ( https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/propaganda-posters/jtXJLPPtMdeEm0gK ).
I initially focused on World War II posters, and found a few US posters, and a massive collection of Russian posters, information overload! I also want to find some German and Italian posters, but could not find any when I refined searches to terms such as Nazi or German propaganda.
In thinking about what I was trying to do, I realized that I was not quite sure what I was going for here. I knew I wanted a couple of things. First, I wanted contrasting views manifested in poster propaganda. I also wanted to capture the time of what I think was the peak of "poster propaganda". As I was looking I even ventured into more commercial propaganda, but I realized I had moved too far up field at that point.
So I went back and refined the search to eagle propaganda. Ah ha! Found a poster of a menacing eagle bleeding Grenada!
So I ended up with 2 posters but, I think that these 2 will work for my purpose of
1. Showing the role of propaganda posters, and
2. Providing multiple perspectives that allow for contrasting and comparing on the same central figure, the American eagle.
I removes one of the WW II eagle posters (The one with the Japanese and German animal representations) because in thinking about it, it was going to create noise, or complicate the ideas that I wanted to focus on.
I guess one of the lessons I have learned from building this collection is that sometimes less is more. I really should focus on one or two ideas, I think any more than that would confuse students initially. I could see how I might build on this collection later, potentially in a number of directions. I could build more propaganda posters into this, or I could focus on the evolution of propaganda from paper to radio to TV to internet. So many possibilities.

U.S. Out of Grenada

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum