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Earhart film donation accepted Monday
06/12/2018

Chris Williamson (left) presents rare film of Amelia Earhart to Karen Seaberg, as Jacque Pregont looks on.

(KAIR)--Atchison's Amelia Earhart Airport Monday evening was the location for a special donation connected to the famed aviator who once called Atchison her home.

The gift was given by Chris Williamson, an Atchison resident who hosts the “Chasing Earhart” podcast.

Donated was rare, filmed footage of Amelia Earhart as she met with a young boy, in Burbank California, that came into Williamson's possession. “It's an 8mm film that was shot in 1937, and this is a film that has to do with a little boy by the name of Dennis Gray, who was 4-years-old at the time this was shot. He contacted Douglas Westfall, of the Paragon Agency, and he told him “I met Amelia Earhart, and I can prove it. My father shot the whole thing.” This was taking place at the Burbank [California] airport...this is really significant.”

The presentation was made at the airport hangar which currently houses Muriel, the last remaining 1935 Lockheed Electra 10E like the one flown by Earhart.

A museum is being planned for permanent housing of the airplane, and it was to the museum that Williamson gifted the unique film. “We want to donate this to the museum here. Jacque and Karen have been instrumental in “Chasing Earhart,” and instrumental in the Amelia Earhart Festival, and this summer's upcoming “Chasing Earhart” panel. Without them, we could have never have done what we're about to do next month, and we wanted to repay them in any way we could, so this is a small token of our appreciation to them.”

Accepting the donation was Karen Seaberg, the President and Chairman of the Board for the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation. “We're very excited to accept this, and I know it will be on exhibit like this [in the original packaging], but we'll also have it [showing in the museum] so we're very excited to have this.”

Joining Seaberg in accepting the film was Jacque Pregont, who also serves on the Foundation board. “It's really important, I think to have something of this quality, and this caliber, added to the museum,” Pregont said.

Seaberg, following the presentation, provided a surprise update about the future progress of the Muriel Museum. “We have enough money to build the shell of the museum, and we're hoping to break ground in July,” Seaberg stated.

Seaberg also serves as chair of Atchison's annual Amelia Earhart Festival, while Pregont serves as coordinator.

Williamson has been working with the Festival Committee in arranging an extended line-up of Earhart experts to speak next month at Benedictine College.

The Saturday afternoon, July 21 discussion panel will happen at 2:00 during the Amelia Earhart Festival, which is held each July to commemorate Earhart, who was born in Atchison.

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