The return of the ruby slippers

Yesterday, we took you behind the scenes as curators worked to install the museum’s new entertainment, sports, and music exhibition. At the end of the video you saw a glimpse of an empty case with a short piece of simulated yellow brick road inside.

Today we bring you the next chapter in the story—the famed ruby slippers from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz being installed in their display case. The shoes are nestled safely in their specially-designed case, awaiting the arrival of their latest audience—you!

Did you know that in the original children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, author L. Frank Baum used silver shoes, not red? Why do you think the film’s production designer, Gilbert Adrian, decided to change their color? Curator Dwight Blocker Bowers reveals the answer in the video below.

Can’t wait to see the ruby slippers in person? If you come to the museum’s reopening festival tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 21, you’ll not only get a chance to see these treasures but you’ll meet Dorothy Gale from the National Touring Company of The Wizard of Oz. She’ll perform “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at 11:00 a.m. in Flag Hall and will also have a special gift for the 70th visitor into the museum to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the film.


Dana Allen-Greil is the new media project manager at the National Museum of American History.