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You Can, You Will, You MUST See This Poster at American History (as soon as it reopens)

The museum presents one of the war's most popular billboard designs in a new installation

The day before the government shutdown began, the American History Museum installed this stunning billboard from World War II in the west wing off the second-floor Flag Hall. The poster was conserved and reassembled in 12 separate parts and looks just as fresh and vibrant as it did at the beginning of the war, when it debuted.

This image, created by artist Carl Paulson for the U.S. Treasury Department, is believed to be the most popular poster design of World War II. It appeared in more than 30,000 locations in March and April 1942 and was revived by the Treasury in July 1942 and 1943. In the video above, curators William Bird, Jr. and Harry Rubenstein explain how the billboard came together.

The billboard will be on view to visitors as soon as the Smithsonian museums re-open. Until then, watch the video above to see how it was installed.

Panoramic view of the World War II billboard. Photo by Ryan Reed

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About Vicky Gan

Vicky Gan, a former editorial intern at Smithsonian Magazine, currently works for the Washingtonian.

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