Truth be told, I own a 30 gallon tub full of hats. Some were purchased for Halloween, some for role-playing games I used in the classroom, and several were just too spectacular to pass up. I own a hat that looks like a giant plush flamingo and has a bendable neck! Could anyone not buy a hat with that kind of “wow” factor?
For two years I was lucky enough to have a job at a history museum that required me to dress in silly costumes on more than one occasion. In May of 2009 I was asked to become Amelia Earhart for a Night at the Museum film event. Immediately my mind conjured visions of aviator goggles and a cool leather skull cap. The feminist in me was excited too. Amelia was a larger-than-life pioneer who became a strong role model for so many women. I dived into the research with a vengeance. What began as a chance to put on a cool costume, turned into a mini-obsession. After staying up all night reading, I learned of some very eerie parallels between my life and hers. Amelia was about the same age as my great grandmother. She became a faculty member at Purdue University, my alma mater. She was born in July, as was I, and was nearing her 40th birthday as she prepared to make her final and infamous attempt to circumnavigate the globe in June of 1937. I was almost 40 too. It was May now and I – I mean Amelia, as I impersonated her – was making final preparations to do something no woman had done before. As I spoke to children at the museum that night (clad in, I must say, a magnificent chapeau), I advised young girls to follow their dreams. I showed them maps of my plans to fly in June. They warned me not to go.
– written by Andrea Jones Childress, education specialist, Atlanta History Center