Items stored in the Smithsonian should be preserved and protected for an eternity. But nothing lasts, even memorabilia contained in one of our great nation's top museums. Which is why the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History needs the assistance of film fans everywhere to help them restore, conserve and display a piece of Hollywood lore from The Wizard of Oz... and every little dollar will aid them.

The Wizard of Oz

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to raise $300,000 that will be used to preserve and display Dorothy's Ruby slippers from the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz. As if you need to be told this, the slippers end up on the feet of Kansas native Dorothy when her house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East. Poor Dorothy spends the rest of the film avoiding the forces of the Wicked Witch of the West, realizing just in time that the Ruby slippers are the key to sending her back home.

The Washington Post reports on the Kickstarter campaign, stating that the hashtag #KeepThemRuby is being used to lure fans to the fundraising drive, which you can contribute to here. The Kickstarter campaign talks about how age has led to some surface damage to the slippers, and they will have to be cleaned and stabilized. After that fact, the Smithsonian wants to use the money raised to figure out the best possible way to display the slippers so that they can be preserved for a longer duration. This, also, is not the first time that the Smithsonian has turned to supporters for financial backing. As the Post points out, a campaign to restore Neil Armstrong's spacesuit raised $719,779 (against a stated goal of $500,000), leading many to believe that the Ruby slippers initiative will succeed with flying colors. Or flying monkeys.

As is the case with any Kickstarter program, the prizes tend to make it worth the donation. Top prizes -- like, for a $10,000 donation -- include a personalized museum tour and your name on a Donor Wall. Smaller prizes include lunch and a group tour, a digital poster, and a museum membership.

I had no idea that Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the ones responsible for acquiring Dorothy's Ruby slippers back in 2012 so that the Academy could begin the process of preserving them. As Academy CEO Dawn Hudson told The Hollywood Reporter back then:

Leo's passionate leadership has helped us bring home this legendary piece of movie history. It's a wonderful gift to the Academy museum project, and a perfect representation of the work we do year-round to preserve and share our film heritage.

As of this publishing, 1,242 backers had raised more than $62,000, but there are still 29 days to go in the campaign. Will you contribute to the efforts to restore this classic piece of Hollywood film history?

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