During my time at the Museum I never tired of observing visitors express delight at seeing a familiar object in person. The iconic ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz remain one of the most popular items in the collection. Judy Garland used the museum’s pair, one of only four pairs still in existence, for the dance sequences in the film. Their sequins, though showing wear, still glitter and make young girls gasp with delight. Their enduring popularity is a puzzlement to many museum employees, who become quite good at providing directions to the shows through gritted teeth and a fake smile. How visitors can place greater importance on the ruby slippers than the Star-Spangled Banner, say, or the first computer, is beyond their comprehension.Having worked at the American History Museum, Grove is now chief of learning at another branch of the Smithsonian, the National Air and Space Museum.
01 July 2014
A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History (University of Nebraska Press, 2014):