Entertainment & Arts

Public urged to help save Oz's ruby slippers

Ruby slippers Image copyright AP
Image caption Dorothy's spangly shoes each have the film's star wearer's name, Judy Garland, written inside

A crowd-funding campaign has been launched to save the famous ruby slippers of the Wizard of Oz movie.

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is appealing to help raise $300,000 (£250,000) for the restoration of Dorothy's magic shoes.

The slippers, worn by Judy Garland in the film, were made almost 80 years ago by the MGM Studios prop department.

The slippers remain one of the most viewed items at the Washington museum.

But age has taken its toll and they have turned from a sparkling red to a dull brown.

The funds raised by the Kickstarter campaign will be used for immediate conservation care and a new, state-of-the-art display case designed to protect them from environmental harm and slow their deterioration.

Future plans include moving the ruby slippers into a new exhibition on American popular culture, scheduled to open in 2018.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Wizard of Oz remains one of cinema history's most-beloved films

"This particular pair of ruby slippers really belongs to the American people, and so we thought as we sought support that we would invite the public to join us on this journey to help preserve them for the next generation," said museum spokeswoman Melinda Machado.

The shoes contain a dozen different materials. The sequins are made of gelatin with a primitive plastic coating, and their red colour has faded because the coating has flaked off, partly due to the effects of light and moisture.

"We're going to have to do a lot of scientific research to come up with a treatment plan that is compatible with all of the different materials," added Ms Machado.

The shoes also include glass beads and red felt on the soles that was used to muffle their sound when Garland wore them during dance sequences.

As of Tuesday afternoon, donors had already pledged nearly $80,000 (£65,000) on Kickstarter.

If the museum does not reach its $300,000 goal in 30 days, no one will be charged.

This is the Smithsonian's second Kickstarter campaign. In 2015, the National Air and Space Museum raised $700,000 (£570,000) through the crowd-funding site to preserve the spacesuit that Neil Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon.

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