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Smithsonian Launches Kickstarter to Save ‘Wizard of Oz’ Ruby Slippers

The Smithsonian Institute has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the restoration of the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.”

“Now in their eighth decade, the shoes are fragile and actively deteriorating,” the Institute said on the Kickstarter page. “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.”

The Institute is seeking to raise $300,000 to restore the shoes worn by Judy Garland in the iconic 1939 MGM musical. But why isn’t the restoration covered by the Smithsonian’s federal funding?

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“Projects like the Ruby Slippers aren’t covered by our federal appropriations, which means we can only undertake them if we can fund them some other way,” the Institute said in a statement. “In other words, we won’t be able to do this project without the participation of Kickstarter backers.”

Fans who donate will be rewarded with things like replica ruby slippers, t-shirts, tote bags, or a commemorative poster, depending on how much you give.

The ruby slippers are just one of the treasured pieces of American pop culture history housed at the Smithsonian. Others include Archie Bunker’s chair from “All in the Family,” Fonzie’s jacket from “Happy Days,” and an original R2-D2 from “Star Wars.”

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