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Hamburger flight to Amelia Earhart Airport makes history interactive

New hometown museum opens April 14

By Collin Callahan

Atchison, Kansas, the birthplace of Amelia Earhart, is a town dotted with monuments to the pioneering aviator—a statue of Earhart stands downtown just a few blocks from the building (now a museum) where she was born; the bridge crossing the Missouri River bears her name; and just south of the airport there’s a one-acre landscape portrait of her.

The last surviving Lockheed Electra 10-E (the same model that Amelia Earhart flew on her final journey) is the centerpiece of a new museum in Earhart's hometown of Atchison, Kansas. Photo courtesy of the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation.

On April 14, another will be added to the list: the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum at the eponymous airport just outside town.

The focal point of the museum is a Lockheed Electra 10–E, an aircraft identical to the one that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were flying when they disappeared on July 2, 1937. Muriel is the last remaining example of the airframe and is named for Earhart’s sister, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey.

Surrounding the airplane are more than a dozen interactive exhibits where visitors can learn about Earhart and aviation. There’s a full-scale mockup of the Electra’s flight deck that visitors can enter, a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp radial engine, and a geared turbofan. Other exhibits touch on topics such as Earhart’s different careers, her contemporaries, and aviation subjects like celestial navigation.

Amelia Earhart Airport is northwest of Kansas City International. AOPA graphic based on SkyVector image. Riveting becomes a game at the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum. Photo courtesy of the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation. An exhibit on celestial navigation extends to the ceiling. Photo courtesy of the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation. A bronze statue of Amelia Earhart welcomes visitors to the museum created in her honor in her Kansas hometown. Photo courtesy of the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation. Virtual reality enables museum visitors to experience flight from Amelia Earhart's perspective. Photo courtesy of the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation. Amelia Earhart inspired generations of women to become pilots, many born long after her disappearance in July 1937 became an enduring mystery. Photos courtesy of Purdue University Libraries via the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate our grand opening and welcome visitors of all ages to journey through Amelia Earhart’s trailblazing life as a world-renowned aviator, innovator, educator and activist,” Karen Seaberg, founder and president of the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation, said in a news release. “It is an honor to bring Amelia’s courageous and persevering legacy to life in her Atchison, Kansas, hometown where the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum is dedicated to inspiring all generations in the pursuit of flight—and like Amelia, encouraging others to boldly pursue their dreams.”

The grand opening will take place at noon on April 14, with celebrations planned throughout the weekend. Pilots flying in can tie down free of charge; arrivals should be coordinated with the FBO. Admission to the museum is $15, with discounts for seniors, members of the military, and children under 12.

Topics: U.S. Travel, People

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