A new exhibition charting Amelia Earhart’s historic landing in Derry is to open on the 82nd anniversary of the event.
The pioneering US aviator’s arrival in Ballyarnett will be recalled at the show, which will run from Wednesday May 21st to Saturday 24th, and open daily from 10am to 4pm at the Northern Counties Building.
Amelia Earhart touched down on Derry on May 21st, 1932 after crossing the Atlantic.
Her surprise arrival in a field owned by local farming family the Gallaghers at Ballyarnett made history, making her the first woman to ever complete a solo trans-Atlantic flight.
It is understood that she had been aiming to reach the bright lights of Paris, but trouble with her aircraft resulted in her pulling up short.
Five years after she landed in Derry, she mysteriously disappeared somewhere in the Pacific while attempting to fly around the world. No trace of Amelia, her navigator Fred Noonan nor the plane they were flying in has ever been found.
Mary Casey, founding member of Derry’s recently-established Amelia Earhart Friendship Society said the significance of Earhart’s arrival in Derry could not be over-stated.
“Amelia Earhart is a worldwide icon. Hilary Clinton last year got the US government to allocate millions of pounds to searching for her remains in the Pacific region.
“There used to be a hostel in Magazine Street and the American tourists who stayed there, like the ones that come to our city today, were amazed that Amelia Earhart had landed here.”
The new exhibition will be held on the ground floor of the restored Northern Counties building in the city centre. It was in this same building that Amelia Earhart took countless phone calls from the world’s press in the days after her arrival.
Mrs Casey said the US aviator also greeted the people of Derry, happily signing autographs and posing for photos.
She also visited the nearby post office in the city centre.
The new exhibition is being staged by the Amelia Earhart Friendship Society, in partnership with Greater Shantallow Community Arts and Foyle Civic Trust.
It will be officially launched by Mayor of Derry Martin Reilly at 10am on Wednesday.
Joe Campbell and Felicity McCall, the authors of the recently published book on Ms Earhart’s landing in Derry, ‘One Day In May’, will be signing copies at the launch.