Smithsonian Mounts $300,000 Campaign to Preserve Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers
A step above the sought-after Maltese Falcon and the fabled Ark of the Covenant, Dorothy Gale’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz have to be the single most vital prop in cinematic history.
The red-sequined shoes, so lusted after by the Wicked Witch of the West in the immortal 1939 fantasy film, have spent the last 30 years as one of the Smithsonian's most popular attractions. But not even magical footwear is immune to the ravages of time, and Judy Garland’s old kicks have lost a bit of their luster. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, the iconic slippers have faded from their original Technicolor ruby to something closer to “a dull auburn.”
The good news is that on Monday, the Smithsonian launched a campaign to get funds from the public to spiff up this piece of cinema history. The Kickstarter account gathering the $300,000 states that in addition to getting the color of the shoes back to its former glory, the money will go to a “technologically advanced display case” that will prevent further deterioration. The Smithsonian is federally funded, but has been known to solicit funds from the private sector or the general public to cover the cost of projects beyond their budget.
“This particular pair of ruby slippers really belongs to the American people, and so we thought as we sought support that we would invite the public to join us on this journey to help preserve them for the next generation,” said Melinda Machado, a museum spokeswoman, to THR. Their piece goes into greater detail about the complicated makeup of the shoes, from the chipping sequins to the frayed insole, all in need of repair. And for such a crucial part of Hollywood’s heritage, the price tag is worth it.