|The sequined pumps, famously worn by Judy Garland as she danced down the yellow brick road in "The Wizard of Oz", will be restored with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign. — AFP Photo|
WASHINGTON — It took just seven days for Wizard of Oz nostalgics to raise more than US$300,000 in a crowdfunding drive to restore Dorothy’s iconic slippers to their ruby red glory.
The US Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, which owns the slippers, said on Monday that its Kickstarter campaign had gone "over the rainbow".
The sequined pumps were famously worn by Judy Garland as she danced down the yellow brick road in the 1939 musical, one of Hollywood’s first colour films.
Support for restoring them "spanned six continents and 41 countries", the museum said in a statement.
Since the crowdfunding campaign runs for another 23 more days, the museum announced a "stretch goal" that "will involve another beloved Wizard of Oz character." It did not say which one.
The Smithsonian Institution -- which oversees museums and research centres in and near Washington -- receives federal funds to support its core operations, but that money does not cover repairing the shoes.
The institution often solicits corporate and private donations to pay for projects beyond its budget.
Dorothy’s slippers, one of the film’s most iconic props, have been on near-constant display at the museum since they were anonymously donated in 1979.
Conservators say the shoes’ sequins are flaking, leaving them more of a washed-out auburn than the glittery ruby color for which they’re known.
MGM Studios’ prop department created the shoes by dying commercially manufactured low-heeled slippers red and attaching red sequined netting.
The Kickstarter campaign is the Smithsonian’s second, after it raised $719,779 last year through crowdfunding to conserve Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit.
"Inviting the public to support this project gives our audiences the opportunity to have an active role in the preservation of the Ruby Slippers," said museum Director John Gray.
"It provides a better understanding of what museums do to ensure that our national treasures are preserved and on display." — AFP