The Smithsonian Saved the Ruby Slippers—and the Scarecrow's Costume Is Next

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

The Smithsonian has officially raised enough money to save Judy Garland’s iconic ruby slippers. Now, reports, the organization also wants to solicit donations to preserve the scarecrow costume worn by Wizard of Oz (1939) actor Ray Bolger.

Earlier this month, the Smithsonian Institution announced that they had launched a Kickstarter campaign to drum up enough cash to restore a treasured cultural artifact from the collections: a surviving pair of red shoes donned by Garland in the film. Their initial goal was $300,000 in one month—but thanks to the financial support of more than 5300 backers, they reached their target in only a week.

Since the crowdfunding effort doesn’t end until Wednesday, November 16, curators from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History announced yesterday that they would use the remaining weeks to raise an additional $85,000 to conserve the Scarecrow’s costume from the film.

Bolger died in 1987, and his wife donated the entire ensemble to the Smithsonian. It consists of a pointed hat, pants, and a jacket, along with accessories including a collar, gloves, cuffs, a belt, and shoes. (Bolger's widow also donated a bag of raffia, which Bolger stuffed inside his clothing to complete the "scarecrow" look, but it's unclear whether it survived the ensuing decades.)

According to the Associated Press, the restored outfit is too delicate to put on permanent display, but Smithsonian officials do plan on showcasing the refurbished costume—along with the ruby slippers—in a temporary cultural exhibit, slated to open in 2018. Visit Kickstarter for more updates the museum’s Wizard of Oz restoration efforts.


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