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Smithsonian Launches Kickstarter to Restore Ruby Slippers

After 80 years, Dorothy’s red ruby slippers are beginning to lose their luster.

The Smithsonian has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $300,000 in order to restore the iconic ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Housed in the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C., the slippers became a national treasure after they were worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy almost 80 years ago.

The Smithsonian Kickstarter points out that the prop was only made by MGM Studios to last till the end of the filming, certainly not a century.

The museum aims to raise $300,000 in order to provide immediate restoration to the slippers and house them in a new state-of-the-art display that will prevent further deterioration.

According to the Kickstarter page, the ruby slippers state of deterioration is clearly visible to curators and museum visitors alike. The red color is faded and appears dull, the coating on the sequins is flaking from its gelatin base and threads holding the sequences have broken.

As one of the most popular artifacts at the National History Museum, the restoration would return the slippers with a new exhibition by 2018.

Like most Kickstarters, the Smithsonian is offering special rewards to those generous enough to donate. Donation sizes range from $150 (for a museum membership and a subscription to Smithsonian Magazine) all the way to $7,000 for an exact replica of the ruby slippers film prop, made identical to its 1936 counterpart.

The Kickstarter will continue for 29 days and the Smithsonian has already received $42,300 from 941 backers. In the past the Smithsonian hosted a similar Kickstarter to help conserve Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit at the Air and Space Museum. The Kickstarter asked for $500,000 and by the end of their campaign received $719,779, and put the additional money to help conserve Alan Shepard’s spacesuit.