After two decades, the Amelia Earhart statue is finally coming to the U.S. Capitol

·2 min read
AP/File

Amelia Earhart will soon be found in the U.S. Capitol.

Her statue that is.

Next month, on July 27, Congress will hold a statue dedication ceremony unveiling a bronze Earhart statue in Statuary Hall, a large room on the House of Representatives side of the Capitol that is a frequent stop for tourists.

One of the most famous pilots in American history, Earhart will officially join former President Dwight Eisenhower as the two statues representing Kansas in the U.S. Capitol. Eisenhower’s statue is in the Capitol rotunda.

It’s an event more than two decades in the making.

Each state gets two statues of in the U.S. Capitol, according to a law creating a National Statuary Hall in 1864. The person honored must be dead and a citizen of the state they represent. Kansas originally sent statues of former Gov. George Washington Glick and former U.S. Sen. John James Ingalls in 1914 and 1905, respectively.

The Kansas Legislature voted in 1999 to replace the statues of Glick and Ingalls with Eisenhower and Earhart. Eisenhower’s statue — made of bronze by the artist Jim Brothers — arrived in 2003.

It has been a longer wait for Earhart, as supporters had to raise money to get the statue built and pick a design. In 2019, Roll Call reported that the statue had been made but the Amelia Earhart Foundation was waiting on approval for the pedestal. Three years later, it appears everything is settled.

The statue will be a twin of the Earhart statue in the Kansas Capitol. It was made by George and Mark Lundeen. Earhart will be one of just 10 women who are honored with statues in the Capitol.

Earhart’s statue will replace the one of Ingalls. Ingalls was an abolitionist senator, also from Atchison. He served at the Wyandotte constitutional convention and allegedly coined the Kansas state motto — Ad Astra per Aspera, which is Latin for “to the stars through difficulties.” He also edited the newspaper in Atchison.

U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall celebrated the new statue’s arrival.

“A bold and inspiring aviator, Amelia Earhart soared into the history books, setting flight records and breaking barriers,” Moran said. “She led the way for thousands of women to pursue their dreams – whether that was in aviation or to break their own, new barriers.”

The official unveiling comes a year before an Amelia Earhart museum is set to open in her hometown of Atchison.

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