FACT SHEET, September 4, 2018
In April 2017, the National Museum of American History took its pair of Ruby Slippers from the American classic The Wizard of Oz off display to begin an extensive research and conservation project. The shoes, made in 1938 for the movie that premiered a year later, are now 80 years old. The work was necessary to preserve the shoes for future generations to see.
Several pairs of Ruby Slippers were made for the movie, a common practice with movie props. The museum’s Ruby Slippers are a mismatched pair, indicated by the use of different base shoes and markings that read ‘#1Judy Garland’ on the right shoe and ‘#6 Judy Garland’ on the left. The shoes themselves were styled from commercially available leather pumps made by the Innes Shoe Co. The white silk faille was dyed red. To create the shimmering red hue of the slippers, dark red sequins were stitched with un-dyed white cotton thread to “templates” made of red silk netting in the shape of the upper part of the shoe and heel. These templates were then overlaid onto the shoes and attached with red silk thread. The bows were made from stiff cotton fabric cut into a butterfly shape and covered with the same red silk netting. They were then adorned with three large rectangular beads surrounded by red glass bugle beads and edged in rhinestones set in silver colored brass prongs that have now turned black. The soles and heels of the shoes were painted red and orange felt was glued to the soles to muffle Garland’s footsteps as she danced on the yellow brick road.
Similarities Between the Smithsonian and the Recovered Pair of Ruby Slippers