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"Let Women Fly!": Female Aviators and Astronauts

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Science +2 Age Levels Primary (5 to 8 years old), Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

Did you know that astronaut Mae Jemison carried a picture of aviator Bessie Coleman in her uniform pocket? Or that astronaut Sally Ride was a major supporter of vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro? Maybe you knew that Jane Briggs Hart was Michigan's first female helicopter pilot and flew her husband, the late Senator Hart, to his political campaign stops as well as being vocal and liberal political activist? Find out about these inspirational women and others in this collection. This topical collection is a great starting point for research about female aviators and astronauts, and includes articles, images, artifacts, and video. Some guiding questions to consider might be:
-Why do you think it was so challenging for female pilots to become accepted? Compare the inclusion of women in aviation to other industries and fields.
-What role did the military play in the growth in the number of female aviators?
-What connections can you find between various female pilots and astronauts?
-Is being the "first" of something a political act? How do many female aviation leaders use their public voice?

#BecauseOfHerStory

Goggles, Flying, Amelia Earhart

National Air and Space Museum

Amelia Earhart's flight suit

National Postal Museum

Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Amelia Earhart

National Portrait Gallery

Amelia Earhart

National Portrait Gallery

Amelia Earhart

National Portrait Gallery

Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega

Smithsonian Education

Book, Amelia Earhart, "The Fun of It"

National Air and Space Museum

One Life: Amelia Earhart

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega

Smithsonian Education

Jacqueline Cochran

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Jacqueline Cochran (d. 1980)

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Pin, Lapel, 99s

National Air and Space Museum

50c Harriet Quimby single

National Postal Museum

Katherine Stinson Otero

National Portrait Gallery

Smith, Elinor. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Jacket, Suit, Flying, Civilian, Ninety-Nines

National Air and Space Museum

Award, Silver Cup, Ninety-Nines, Sally Ride

National Air and Space Museum

Name Tag, Shuttle Astronaut (Jemison) (Flown)

National Air and Space Museum

Ride, Sally Kristen. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Button, Mondale-Ferraro, Sally Ride

National Air and Space Museum

Button, ERA is for Everyone, Sally Ride

National Air and Space Museum

Jacket, Denim, Patty Wagstaff, Civilian

National Air and Space Museum

Suit, Flying, Civilian, Patty Wagstaff

National Air and Space Museum

Law, Ruth Bancroft. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Law, Ruth Bancroft. [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Flying high: The life of Activist Jane Hart

National Museum of American History

Name Tag, Shuttle Astronaut (Ochoa) (Flown)

National Air and Space Museum

Broadwick, Georgia "Tiny". [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives