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The Women's Museum's Dreams of Flight Exhibit Opening Coincides with Legendary Pilot's Birthday, Amelia Earhart

WASP (photo courtesy of Texas Woman's University)

WASP (photo courtesy of Texas Woman's University)

National Women’s Museum in Dallas, Texas, opens exhibit dedicated to the accomplishment of women in air and space.

The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future announces the opening of Dreams of Flight: A Journey through Air and Space on Friday, July 23, 2010, and runs through October 31, 2010. In a special twist, the opening of the exhibit coincides with one of America’s beloved pioneers of flight birthday, Amelia Earhart, born July 24, 1897. Amelia Earhart became the first woman to make a non-stop Trans-Atlantic flight in 1932. In June 1937, Amelia began the infamous final trip that would mark the first around-the-world flight. She and her navigator, Frederick Noonan, completed almost two-thirds of their flight when they were lost at sea.

Amelia Earhart (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University)

Amelia Earhart (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University)

Women have broken boundaries in the realm of air and space as pilots, astronauts, astrophysicists and scientists. The more than 40 women featured in Dreams of Flight: A Journey through Air and Space, presented by ExxonMobil, demonstrate remarkable resilience, strength and character in the face of opposition. This exhibition highlights the women, from the earliest pioneers of flight including Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman (Texas native), Jaqueline Cochran and Jeana Yeager (Fort Worth, Texas, native), to science and space innovators such as Barbara Askins, Patricia Cowings and Jerrie Cobb.

Dreams of Flight represents the personal sacrifices and professional fortitude of more than 40 women who have made unparalleled contributions to the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an effort to advance these fields in America.

Dreams of Flight: A Journey through Air and Space will feature items on loan from museums and collections across America, including uniforms, artifacts, images, videos and interactive activities.

The exhibit is broken down into areas where women had the most impact in aeronautics:

  • FIRST IN FLIGHT – the first women in America to fly planes, perform aeronautic acrobatics, and pave the way for future women
  • FLY GIRLS – During WWII women would given the chance to serve their country and through the development of the WAFS and WFTD, the WASP were created, and became the first women to serve as pilots and fly military aircraft for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.
  • TURBULANT TIMES – Although women had been flying since the early 1900s, were still not accepted into aeronautics. The FLATS (or Mercury 13) went through rigorous training to be accepted into NASA
  • LIFT OFF – Women began to make their mark in aeronautics and space flight, as well as commercial flight and unique piloting careers. Women worked as both pilots, astronauts, and in supporting roles such as scientists, engineers, and on ground commanders.

“It is appropriate that our 10th Year Anniversary features women for whom the sky was NOT the limit,” said Wanda Brice, CEO of The Women’s Museum. “Like those adventurous flying women, the women who dreamed of and made happen The Women’s Museum, saw the possibilities and flung themselves into the project. The contributions of women to the fields of air and space are too often overlooked. This year, they will be celebrated by all the visitors to the now well-established Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future.”

In conjunction with Dreams of Flight, the Museum opens two exhibits Fly Girls and Women and Flight. Fly Girls is a traveling exhibit created by Texas Woman’s University (TWU). Texas Woman’s University completed the exhibit, FlyGirls, in 2000 for the WASP Reunion, which was held, in part, on the TWU campus in Denton, Texas. The exhibit consists of nine cloth panels that share the history of America’s Fly Girls.

Women and Flight, images by Carolyn Russo, is an exhibit of selected images from the Women and Flight collection, which originally toured as a SITES traveling exhibition and was created by photographer Carolyn Russo. Photographs include images of Jean Ross Howard-Phelan, Shannon Lucid, Patty Wagstaff, Susan Still, Eileen Collins, and many others.

The Women’s Museum, celebrating a decade of empowering women in association with the Smithsonian Institution, is the nation’s only comprehensive women’s history museum that chronicles the lives of American women through interactive exhibits. The Women’s Museum is supported, in part, by the City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m. (closed Mondays). For more information, please visit www.thewomensmuseum.org.

Presenting Sponsor

ExxonMobil is committed to advancing U.S. math and science education and does so by supporting a wide variety of educational initiatives. This outreach includes programs that seek to improve education and career opportunities for minorities and women, particularly within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Lending Institutions: The Women’s Museum collaborated with other institutions to bring exciting and interesting artifacts and images in for this exhibit. The lending institutions include: the Gee Library Special Collections, Texas A & M University-Commerce; The Women’s Collection of the Blagg-Huey Library at Texas Woman’s University; Johnson Space Center; National Air and Space Museum; Wings Across America; Patty Waggstaff; and many others.

Sally Ride (NASA)

Sally Ride (NASA)

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