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10 Facts About Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart may be best-known for her numerous aviation records, but it is Amelia's legacy of unfaltering determination and her can-do attitude for equal treatment of women that lives on. 

She was born in 1897, but Amelia didn’t board a plane until 1920. Then, when the pilot flew her just a couple hundred feet in the air, Amelia knew she had to fly. In 1923, Amelia became the sixteenth woman to receive a pilot’s license. 

On June 17, 1928, she departed from Newfoundland with pilots Wilmer "Bill" Stultz and Louis E. "Slim" Gordon. When her team landed in Wales 21 hours later, she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, a record that was just one of many. Later, the pilot became the first woman and the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic. She also became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific. Then, shortly after her flight across the Pacific, Amelia became the first to fly solo from Mexico City to Newark.

On June 1, 1937, Earhart left Miami for her final flight. She hoped to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Sadly, Amelia would never complete this flight. On July 2, her radio lost contact and a rescue attempt began immediately. Although it became the most extensive air and sea search in naval history, Amelia was never found. In a letter to her husband, Amelia wrote, "Please know I am quite aware of the hazards." She said, "I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others."

We celebrate Amelia Earhart to not only honor her life and career, but also Amelia's courage and strength. 

Amelia Earhart black and white photo with quote by Amelia Earhart that says

Here are 10 facts you may not know about this famous aviator:  

  1. Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897
  2. Amelia saw her first plane at a state fair when she was 10 years old
  3. During World War I, Amelia became a nurse's aid in Toronto, Canada, to tend to wounded soldiers
  4. On December 28, 1920, pilot Frank Hawks gave Amelia her first ride in an airplane
  5. Amelia took her first flying lesson on January 3, 1921
  6. Amelia’s first plane was a bright yellow Kinner Airster that she nicknamed, "The Canary"
  7. While living in Boston, Amelia wrote articles promoting flying in the local newspaper
  8. In 1932, Amelia developed flying clothes for the Ninety-Nines that were advertised in Vogue
  9. Although she referred to herself as “AE," Amelia became known as “Lady Lindy” after her first flight across the Atlantic
  10. During her 2,408-mile flight to become the first person to fly solo across the Pacific, Amelia enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate

An aviation pioneer

She set many records, including:

  • Woman's world altitude record of 14,000 feet in 1922
  • First woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean in 1928
  • First woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932—this also made her the first person to fly a plane across the Atlantic twice
  • First woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross from the U.S. Armed Forces
  • First woman to fly nonstop, coast-to-coast across the United States in 1932
  • Set the women's transcontinental speed record in 1933
  • First person to fly solo between Honolulu, Hawaii, and Oakland, California
  • First person to fly solo from Los Angeles, California, to Mexico City, Mexico
  • First person to fly solo nonstop from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey
  • Speed record for east-to-west flight from Oakland, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii 

Amelia Earhart and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Amelia Earhart continues to serve as inspiration to children (and grown-ups) around the world. We have a piece of her story in our permanent collection—a pair of aviator goggles given to Amelia Eahart by an artist friend of hers.

Amelia Earhart's aviator goggles.

 It's a rare treat for us to be able to display these aviator goggles for public viewing. They're very fragile. They're made of leather, fur, glass, and contain an elastic band. Continued exposure to light will quickly reduce the elasticity of the band, which could make it snap. Changing temperatures and humidity levels would cause the thin layer of leahter and fur around the eye pieces to quickly degrade. In the interest of long-term object preservation, we have to safely store them in our archives.

We do, however, place the aviator goggles on display when it's relevant to an exhibit. The last time they were part of a temporary exhibit was when in Barbie™ You Can Be Anything™: The Experience was open.

Family wearing face masks looking at Amelia Earhart's aviator goggles in the Barbie exhibit.

More inspiring stories 

From pioneers, to sports legends, to children who changed the world, you'll find countless inspiring stories as you explore The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Buy your tickets today and get ready for an amazing adventure.