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Exhibit showcases vintage airline ads

Photo by Maria-Jose Subiria
Stephanie Hensley, collections manager for the National Museum of Commercial Aviation, points to examples of the variety of advertisements different airlines used from the 1960s to the 1970s. The ads are part of an exhibit at the Georgia Archives in Morrow.

Photo by Maria-Jose Subiria Stephanie Hensley, collections manager for the National Museum of Commercial Aviation, points to examples of the variety of advertisements different airlines used from the 1960s to the 1970s. The ads are part of an exhibit at the Georgia Archives in Morrow.

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

It wasn't until around the late 1950s and early 1960s that commercial air travel became a popular way for the American public to get from point A to point B, said Stephanie Hensley, collections manager at the National Museum of Commercial Aviation in Forest Park.

"People were still using the rails and cars to get them to places in the 1940s," Hensley said. "They didn't think air travel was all that safe."

As a way to remember and highlight the coming of age of commercial air travel, the National Museum of Commercial Aviation is hosting a free exhibit at the Georgia Archives in Morrow called "Flights of Fancy."

Hensley said the exhibit showcases advertising campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s, which appealed to business travelers and the general public, along with items one would typically find onboard flights of those eras.

The archives is located at 5800 Jonesboro Road, in Morrow.

According to Hensley, the public may view the exhibit until May 31, during the Georgia Archives' operating hours, Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m.

"It's an exhibit on sort of the popularization of air travel," she said.

Hensley said airlines doing business in the 1960s and 1970s used customer service and travel destinations to compete against one another, because during those decades, ticket prices were fixed. Now, most airlines use prices to lure passengers in, she added.

Hensley said the advertisements used in the exhibit were digitally scanned from the originals and enlarged for public viewing.

"Racy, often sexist, and offensive to many, these campaigns offer a unique insight into American culture during these turbulent decades," said Grant Wainscott, executive director and chief curator of the National Museum of Commercial Aviation.

In addition to the advertising campaigns, airline in-service items are also included in the exhibit, Hensley said. Items such as airline dinnerware, ashtrays, liquor bottles, wings and decks of playing cards are showcased.

She said the Georgia Archives added images from its collection in a slide show that depicts an era in early aviation for the exhibit.

Timothy Frilingos, museum services manager at the Georgia Archives, said this is the first time the Georgia Archives has collaborated with another organization to produce an exhibit on its premises.

"I thought ... it was a good opportunity, because they were close and it certainly was a good fit for the archives being in Clayton County, as well," said Frilingos.

He said the archives had open space, so he consulted Wainscott to see if the museum was interested in displaying pieces from its collection there.

Frilingos said he and Hensley began to develop the presentation of the exhibit in November of 2009. The exhibit opened to the public at the end of January, he continued.

Wainscott said the museum has a limited amount of space to present exhibits, so he was glad for the opportunity to display items at the archives.

The archives, through the exhibit, is also offering exposure for the museum, he added.

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On the net:

National Museum of Commercial Aviation: www.nationalaviationmuseum.com

Georgia Archives: http://sos.georgia.gov/archives/