A new museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Amelia Earhart has opened in the pioneering aviator's hometown.
Earhart was born in Atchison in 1897 (her childhood home, at 223 N. Terrace St., is also a museum). In 1932, she would become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Only one other aviator, Charles Lindbergh, had accomplished the feat up to that time.
The centerpiece of the new museum, which sits on the grounds of Amelia Earhart Memorial Airport, is Muriel (pictured above), the world’s last remaining Lockheed Electra 10-E aircraft, according to the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation, the organization behind the museum.
Muriel is identical to the plane in which Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan set out on a flight around the world in 1937. More than two thirds of the way through the journey, the plane famously disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean, supplying amateur sleuths and History channel documentarians with fodder for decades to come.
(Amelia Earhart and a Lockheed Electra 10-E aircraft, circa 1930s | Photo courtesy Purdue University Libraries)
Surrounding Muriel at the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum are 14 different interactive exhibits concerned with history and science.
Visitors can climb into a full-scale replica of the plane's cockpit; flip through a digitized scrapbook of the "uplifting influencers" who inspired Earhart; learn about navigating aircraft by radio waves, sextant, and constellations; race through the history of flight via 3D holograms; uncover the bold exploits of other trailblazing women in aviation; and go down the rabbit hole of theories about what happened to Earhart and Noonan on that final fateful flight.
A separate ticketed experience ($5 extra per person) lets museumgoers pilot a virtual reality re-creation of Earhart's 1932 transatlantic flight.
(Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum in Atchison, Kansas | Photos courtesy Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum)
In a statement, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said, “The new Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum will celebrate a woman who showed us what it means to reach for the stars. I’m so glad there will be a place dedicated to showcasing how a fearless Kansan blazed her own trail to become one of the most admired women in the world—inspiring all, especially young girls, for generations to come."
Tickets to the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum cost $15 apiece for adults, $8 for kids ages 4–12. Go to AmeliaEarhartHangarMuseum.org for more information.