One Tank Trip: Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum details American aviator’s life, achievements

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(Illustration by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

Located about an hour and 45 minutes from Manhattan is the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kansas, a perfect travel destination for someone with only a tank of gas.

Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, setting several aviation records. Sadly, in what became her final attempt at paving the way for women in aviation, her plane crashed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean while circumnavigating the globe.

Earhart had many achievements. Despite a somewhat difficult upbringing, she became a military nurse in 1916 during World War I. After serving for two years, Earhart relocated to Los Angeles with her parents and discovered her passion for aviation in 1920.

She spent the next two years working as a photographer, stenographer and truck driver to save money for flying lessons, eventually receiving her pilot’s license in 1923.

She spent the rest of her life trailblazing the way for women in aviation, practicing other trades on the side. She became a teacher and then a social worker in Boston, Massachusetts.

It wasn’t until 1928 that Amelia Earhart set her first record and became well-known. She traveled from Newfoundland to Wales in 20 hours as a passenger and was the first female passenger in a trans-Atlantic flight. This was only the beginning for her.

She wrote a book that same year and bought an airplane the next. She also co-founded the Ninety-Nines, Inc., an organization for female aviators. Her career took off after this, setting countless records until her death in 1937.

Earhart traveled the world and made a name for herself, but her home was on the west bank of the Missouri River — her childhood home on 223 N Terrace St., Atchison, Kansas. She never forgot or strayed from her humble beginnings.

The museum’s website says, “Despite living in many different cities, Amelia considered Atchison her hometown, having spent more of her life in the Otis home than anywhere else. The Amelia Earhart Birthplace represents the most tangible remaining link with the famous female aviator.”

Earhart’s gothic revival-style home was built in 1861 by her maternal grandfather. She lived there from age 3 to 12, later returning to Des Moines, Iowa, to live with her parents.

Her sister Muriel returned to the house after Amelia’s death, fixing the house so it looked exactly as it had when they were children. Although additions have been made to the house, its integrity and authenticity remain.

The house features personal artifacts of Earhart’s like clothing, letters and photos, with guides detailing her life throughout the tour.

The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum is open for tours by appointment on Fridays and Saturdays, but checking the website for specific hours and details is recommended.

While the museum is small, it encompasses lots of history, recognizing the lesser-known achievements of one of the most impressive women in U.S. history. Next time you need something to do, consider checking out the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum.

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Madison Daniel
Hey! I’m Maddie Daniel and I am a junior in mass communications. This semester, I'm the assistant culture editor and have previously served as a staff writer. After I graduate, I plan to go to law school to pursue a career in Federal Indian Law. I love art, history and anything outdoors.