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Smithsonian Successfully Saves Ruby Slippers Judy Garland Wore in ‘The Wizard of Oz’

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Wizard of Oz
Dorothy’s ruby slippers from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ on display as part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. in 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

 

There’s no place like home … there’s no place like home … there’s no place like home. And that’s especially true for one iconic pair of ruby slippers.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, asking for $300,000 in donations to help preserve Dorothy’s (a.k.a. Judy Garland’s) famous footwear from the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz. The museum received the prized movie prop as an anonymous donation in 1979, and since then, millions of visitors have come to view them.

Wizard of Oz
Actress Judy Garland wearing the famed ruby slippers in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

 

But what those scores of museum patrons might not have known merely by looking at the slippers was just how fragile they really were. Although they’d sat behind glass at the museum for years—away from the potentially harmful grasp of adoring fans—the slippers were meant to last only for filming, and 77 years on, they’d fallen into extreme disrepair.

One of the main culprits? Light, which had led to discoloration and darkening of their once brilliant hue. The museum’s goal was to have the $300,000 pay for the shoes’ preservation—and a new, state-of-the-art glass case.

Well, they’ve reached and actually surpassed the $300,000 mark, and the museum has vowed that the ruby slippers will be back in action—in an environmentally controlled display case—as part of a new, tentatively titled exhibit, “On With the Show,” by 2018.

Wizard of Oz
Actor Ray Bolger portraying the Scarecrow in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

 

But the Smithsonian’s Kickstarter campaign is still funding through November 16, which means the museum now has its sights set on an additional Wizard of Oz–related goal. At press time, donations have eclipsed the $300,000 goal by $42,164, so the museum is looking for an additional $42,836 (for a grand total of $85,000) to preserve and properly display actor Ray Bolger’s Scarecrow costume from the film.

For more on the Kickstarter campaign or to donate, click here. Below, watch the famous scene from The Wizard of Oz, where the ruby slippers make their first appearance.