The first Miss Nebraska to be crowned Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, will be featured in a new exhibit to open March 1, 2013, Nebraska Statehood Day, at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. The Gering, Nebraska, resident was the ninetieth Miss America when she was chosen in 2011. Then age seventeen, she was the youngest Miss America since 1921.
Museum visitors will see many of Scanlan’s pageant outfits, including the gown she wore when competing in the Miss Nebraska pageant and her various costume changes from the Miss America pageant.
Although her dresses may have changed, one thing remained constant in all the pageants Teresa competed in since the age of thirteen: her shoes. The shoes Teresa wore when she was crowned Miss America were the same shoes she wore in 2004 when she was crowned Scotts Bluff County Teen Queen.
Pageant contestants have various talents, but Scanlan’s involve an unexpected product: duct tape. One of her many hobbies includes making clothing and other items out of this versatile product. When the Duck Tape® brand learned she was a fan, they invited her to be the grand marshal for their festival in Avon, Ohio. A sash and bouquet made entirely out of duct tape will be on display, along with a ring given to her and made by students.
During her reign as Miss America, Teresa traveled more than 240,000 miles, visiting thirty-five states and several foreign countries. She served as a goodwill ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network, visited many hospitals, and worked with the USO. She was a spokesperson and advocate for many organizations and causes, including the American Cancer Society, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Special Olympics, and many more.
What’s next for Teresa? Since ending her reign as Miss America, she has continued to work for various causes, including raising money for an orphanage in Haiti and an organization supporting education for Kenyan girls. She is currently attending Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia. Her career goals include becoming a Supreme Court justice and running for president.
Visit the Nebraska State Historical Society website for hours and directions on how to reach the Nebraska History Museum. The Nebraska’s Miss America exhibit is scheduled to close September 3, 2013.