Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the classic Wizard of Oz are iconic, but they are sadly wearing their years and have lost their luster quite a bit. A Kickstarter has been created by the Smithsonian to help restore the classic icon.
As mentioned, this crowdfunding campaign was started by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, who are asking for $300,000 (or £250,000) to restore Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
The iconic slippers were created by MGM studios’ props department almost 80 years ago, and so they have gone from their original sparkling, vibrant red to a dull brown. They are still one of the most viewed items at the museum, however.
If the Kickstarter is successful, the funds will be used for immediate conservation care as well as new state-of-the-art protective case to slow their deterioration. They are also planning to move the slippers to a new exhibition on American popular culture in the future.
You might be wondering exactly what has happened to the ruby slippers, and the Kickstarter page explains: “The prop department at MGM Studios created the Ruby Slippers for the filming of The Wizard of Oz. The movie’s costume designer altered commercially manufactured shoes by dying them red and attaching a red netting covered with sequins.”
“Movie costumes and props are made quickly and cheaply, to last only for the brief duration of the shoot, not forever. Now in their eighth decade, the shoes are fragile and actively deteriorating. Even to the naked eye the damage is quite obvious: the color has faded and the slippers appear dull and washed-out. The coating on the sequins that give the shoes their hallmark ruby color is flaking off its gelatin base. Some threads that hold sequins in place have broken.”
Museum spokeswoman Melinda Machado spoke on the importance of the iconic Wizard of Oz slippers, saying: “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. We’re going to have to do a lot of scientific research to come up with a treatment plan that is compatible with all of the different materials.”
At the time of writing, $117,325 has been raised by 2,185 backers with 28 days left to go. It seems that the campaign will succeed, but if it doesn’t, the Smithsonian will receive none of the money.