Toto, These Slippers Need Some Work

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October 18, 2016

There’s no place like home for these ruby red slippers, but they might not survive many more hopeful taps together.

The slippers are the ones that Dorothy Gale wore in the iconic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. In the film, young Dorothy takes the slippers from the Wicked Witch of the East and keeps them through various trials and travails, with the last step in her journey following an instruction by Glenda the Good Witch to click her heels together three times and declare how wonderful her home really is.

The film is one of the world’s most famous, with images and lines from it being repeated by generations of film-watchers (and even from people who have never seen the film). And “There’s no place like home” is just one of those lines. Other famous lines include “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” and “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” And the slippers are just one of the many props to have become famous for their association with the film.

A pair of slippers worn by Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in the film, has been on display in the National Museum of American History for nearly as long as the film has been showing. That’s a long time for shoes to survive, even covered in glitter. The slippers are showing signs of wear and tear, and the museum doesn’t have the funds needed to repair them and also construct a state-of-the-art case to protect them from the elements.

Total repair costs are estimated at $300,000; the case will be the largest part of the cost. The museum has begun a Kickstarter campaign, along with a Twitter hashtag of #KeepThemRuby. Some of the campaign costs are to cover rewards given to donors; among the planned rewards are T-shirts, tote bags, and even pairs of replica ruby red slippers (for those giving large amounts of money).

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