The twenty featured travel posters are a small selection of the approximately 200 donated to Miami University in 1970 by Cora Elma Pratt. The intent of her gift was for the objects to be used as an educational resource. Her extensive 2,500 item collection consists mostly of international folk art dating from the 1920s through the 1950s. One year after her death in 1977 her donations transferred to the Art Museum establishing the Elma Pratt International Folk Art Collection. Pratt likely acquired the travel posters during her many European trips during her tenure as the founder and director of the International School of Art.
Rebuilding European Tourism is curated with assistance from Ethan Clearfield, Spring 2018 Curatorial Intern. Clearfield conceived of the idea for curating an exhibition of Pratt’s travel posters while serving as a Fall 2017 Collections Intern. Through research and many discussions, the exhibition concept evolved from a casual look at a continental journey by sea and air to a provocative examination of the printed media in the context of rebuilding Europe following the two World Wars. Pratt’s collection of travel posters includes a number of duplicates, most all of which show signs of use as utilitarian items.