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10 Facts About Role Model Amelia Earhart

With over 200 careers and counting, Barbie® is committed to shining a light on empowering role models from the past and present. The Barbie™ You Can Be Anything: The Experience exhibit at The Children’s Museum provides a hands-on way to inspire young women and nurture their limitless potential. In this blog series, we’re introducing you to the Barbie role models—extraordinary women from all walks of life who have been honored with a doll in their likeness—who are featured in Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience. We have already shared facts about role models ELLA FITZGERALD®, Florence Nightingale, and Laurie Hernandez

Are you ready to meet another inspiring woman?

Meet Amelia Earhart

Born in 1897, Amelia Earhart was 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 

That’s quite the resume. And that’s just a snapshot of the records Amelia Earhart set. But she was more than just a set of records. She served as an inspiration during her lifetime. She continues to be an inspiration today. 

10 facts about Amelia Earhart

  1. From 1935–1937, Amelia Earhart was a career counselor and adviser to the Department of Aeronautics at Purdue University, encouraging women to pursue their dreams.
  2. Earhart was 10 years old when she saw her first plane at the Iowa State Fair. She was not impressed. “It was a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting,” she said. The flying bug bit her when she watched a stunt flying exhibition in Toronto 10 years later.
  3. Amelia Earhart took her first flying lesson on Jan. 3, 1921. She was 23 years old.
  4. She didn’t like wearing aviator goggles while flying and would only wear them when necessary. One set of her goggles is part of our permanent collection and on display in Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience.

  5. Amelia Earhart also didn’t like coffee or tea. She used smelling salts like these to stay awake during her long flights.
  6. In 1929, she helped found the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of female recreational and professional pilots. She served as the organization’s first president. The Ninety-Nines are still active today. In 2018, there were 155 Ninety-Nines chapters around the world.
  7. Amelia Earhart had an aviation-inspired clothing line of fashionable and affordable clothes available at Macy’s and Marshall Field’s.
  8. Her family nickname was “Meelie.” Sometimes they would spell it “Millie.”
  9. In 1904, a young Amelia Earhart visited the World’s Fair in St. Louis. When she returned home, she was inspired to recreate the roller coaster she saw at the World’s Fair with planks and a wooden box on top of a tool shed. She told her sister it felt “just like flying.”
  10. In addition to a pilot, Amelia Earhart also held these jobs during her lifetime: nurse’s aide, truck driver, photographer, stenographer, teacher, social worker, author, and magazine editor. 

An inspiration today

Amelia Earhart was the embodiment of “you can be anything.” She continues to serve as inspiration to young (and grown-up) girls around the world.You can learn more about Amelia Earhart and other role models at The Children’s Museum. Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience is open through July 2022 and included with museum admission. Don’t miss this exhibit that inspires young girls to imagine and explore the endless possibilities!

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