Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Move In with Neil Armstrong’s Space Suit

National Museum of American History Displays Its Treasures During Renovation
August 21, 2006

Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat will bunk with historic air and spacecraft when the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History presents "Treasures of American History" at the National Air and Space Museum. Opening Nov. 17, the exhibition will feature more than 150 objects from the National Museum of American History’s collections while its building is closed for architectural renovation.

"Treasures of American History" closed April 13, 2008.  For information about the Museum's reopening, go to our renovation page.

The Museum will be closed for renovation beginning Sept. 5 and is expected to reopen in summer 2008. “The Museum is thrilled that visitors will be able to see some of American History’s most treasured objects while our building is closed,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the Museum. “Showcasing American History objects at Air and Space presents a unique and singular opportunity for visitors to see two diverse and extraordinary collections in one visit.”

"Treasures of American History” will feature an engaging mix of the famous, the familiar, and the unexpected from across the museum’s vast holdings. Joining Dorothy’s ruby slippers on view will be the rarely seen Scarecrow costume worn by Ray Bolger in “The Wizard of Oz,” the compass used by Lewis and Clark during their journey across the Louisiana Territory, the lunch counter from Greensboro, N.C., where four African American students began a "sit-in" that lasted for six-months, Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, Thomas Edison’s lightbulb, General Custer’s buckskin jacket and Kermit the Frog.

The exhibition will be divided into four sections: Creativity and Innovation, American Biography, National Challenges and American Identity. The exhibition will also feature a new acquisitions case that will allow the museum to showcase its ongoing collecting efforts.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage through exhibitions and public programs about social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The Museum will close for major renovations beginning Sept. 5. For more information, visit the Museum’s Web site at or call (202) 633-1000, (202) 357-1729 (TTY).