Tools of communication have transformed American society time and again over the past two centuries. The Museum has preserved many instruments of these changes, from printing presses to personal digital assistants.
The collections include hundreds of artifacts from the printing trade and related fields, including papermaking equipment, wood and metal type collections, bookbinding tools, and typesetting machines. Benjamin Franklin is said to have used one of the printing presses in the collection in 1726.
More than 7,000 objects chart the evolution of electronic communications, including the original telegraph of Samuel Morse and Alexander Graham Bell's early telephones. Radios, televisions, tape recorders, and the tools of the computer age are part of the collections, along with wireless phones and a satellite tracking system.
"Communications - Overview" showing 1 items.
- During World War II, after the breakdown of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact, the Soviet news agency TASS issued a series of propaganda posters. Topics included anti-Nazi caricatures and Socialist Realist art encouraging the war effort. Beginning in June 1941, the Union of Soviet Artists established a publishing collective to produce the posters on an almost daily basis. Because they were displayed in the windows of the news agency's Moscow office, they are known as TASS window posters. It is estimated that about 1,500 different posters were produced between 1941 and 1945.
- Well-known artists and poets worked on the designs and captions, and most of the posters were produced in limited editions using the stencil process for both graphics and text. Many posters were completed and reproduced within 24 hours, making them very responsive to political issues and war news. Copies were distributed abroad by VOKS, the Soviet Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries. Their messages helped present the USSR favorably to its new allies, including the U.S. The Museum has six of these posters received in 1943 through VOKS. Other collections outside Russia include the University of Nottingham in England and Columbia and Cornell universities in the U.S.
- TASS window poster No. 711 is a two-panel poster with anti-Hitler cartoons.
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center