Wizard of Oz ruby slippers saved thanks to Kickstarter campaign

Rosie Vare
Dorothy's ruby red slippers saved thanks to kickstarter campaign
Dorothy's ruby red slippers saved thanks to kickstarter campaign

The iconic ruby red slippers from the 1939 film 'The Wizard of Oz' have been saved thanks to an ambitious Kickstarter campaign.

The shoes, which are worn by the film's main character Dorothy, are currently being held at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington.

But sadly, the shoes Judy Garland wore are no longer in the glittering condition they once were and on 17 October the museum set about asking the public for help.

Dawn Wallace, a Conservator at the Smithsonian, said: "The materials are incredible sensitive. If we're not able to limit a lot of the deterioration issues that are going on currently, it could really shorten their lifespan."

The museum has had the slippers in its possession since they were given to them anonymously in 1979, and they quickly became one of the Smithsonian's most popular exhibits.

The Kickstarter page, entitled 'Save Dorothy's Ruby Slippers', outlined that the shoes were only designed to last until the end of filming and are now 'showing their age'.

It reads: "They need immediate conservation care and a new, state-of-the-art display case, in order to slow their deterioration and protect them from environmental harm."

Now the campaign has raised a staggering $308,016 (£251,810) thanks to 5,510 individual backers, ensuring these pieces of film history will not be allowed to deteriorate any further.

The money will be used to keep the slippers 'under optimal conditions' with calibrated light exposure and strict controls on humidity and temperature.

Richard Barden, Preservation Services Manager at the museum, said: "We believe light has had a strong effect on the ruby slippers. They're really discoloured. They've darkened, they've become opaque and there's cracking."

Once restored the slippers will be kept in a new exhibition opening in 2018 that is likely to be called 'On With The Show'.

According to the Kickstarter site the exhibition 'will highlight American ingenuity and diversity in music, sports and entertainment'.

That's not all, since reaching their target the museum have announced a 'stretch goal' which involves one of the film's other iconic characters.

They are looking for $85,000 to conserve and display the Scarecrow's costume, if the goal is reached the team will be able to fully conserve and preserve the costume.

Find out more on the official Kickstarter page: kickstarter.com/projects/smithsonian/conserve-dorothys-ruby-slippers.