A new museum in Amelia Earhart’s Kansas hometown honors her pioneering legacy in flight
Amelia Earhart spent part of her childhood in Atchison, Kansas. Now her hometown is celebrating the famous aviator's life and adventures with a new museum.
Pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart spent part of her childhood in Atchison, Kansas. Now her hometown is celebrating her life and adventures with a new museum that opens this weekend.
The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum showcases 14 interactive science and technology exhibits, celebrates the trailblazing aviator and features a Lockheed Electra 10-E aircraft named Muriel. Earhart flew an identical plane when she and her navigator, Fred Noonan disappeared on her doomed, final flight around the world in 1937.
Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
As crowds gathered outside the museum Friday, Karen Seaberg, founder and president of the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation spoke to a small crowd of donors.
"I want you to raise your glass and give a toast to Amelia and Muriel," Seaberg said.
Lockheed Aircraft Company built only 14 of the Lockheed L-10Es, and Muriel is the last remaining aircraft from that series. It's named after Earhart’s sister.
U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, from Kansas, was on hand at Friday’s grand opening ceremony.
“Today, Atchison, Kansas, is above the clouds thanks to people like Amelia Earhart," Marshall said. "She opened the doors for opportunities for everyone.”
Originally, the plane on display in the museum belonged to pilot Grace McGuire, who spent 30 years working on the Electra’s restoration. McGuire then sold the plane to the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation.
The foundation then raised funds to build the new 17,000-square-foot hangar museum.
Earhart's great nephew Bram Kleppner said the history lessons in the museum help bring Earhart's legacy forward into the 21st century.
"People generally know she knew airplanes and that she disappeared, but they don't know about all of her work to create opportunities for women and girls in education and in aviation," Kleppner said.
The museum, like the aviator it celebrates, showcases the power of the individual and the excitement of what lies beyond the horizon.
"To quote Amelia: 'The sun is always shining every day. Sometimes you just have to get up out of the clouds to see it," Seaberg said.
The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum will host special activities to celebrate the grand opening from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, and from noon-5 p.m. on Sunday, April 16, at the Amelia Earhart Memorial Airport, 16701 286th Road, Atchison, Kansas 66002. Find more information at the museum's website.