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The Ruby Slippers Head to London

Get a peek at the iconic shoes from the Wizard of Oz before they head to the Victoria and Albert Museum for a temporary exhibit

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The Ruby Slippers are an iconic part of film history. Courtesy of Philip Samuels, St. Louis, Missouri, from the Library of Congress

The American History Museum’s beloved Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz will be headed to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum October 9. The last chance for D.C. visitors to view the shoes will be October 8.

As part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Hollywood Costume” exhibit, the red shoes worn by actress Judy Garland in her iconic role as Dorothy, will be on display for six weeks, beginning October 20. The exhibit seeks to highlight the magic worked by costume designers in bringing a story alive, whether it be for Indiana Jones or Titanic. 

The Ruby Slippers in particular were a costuming feat when they were created for the 1939 film. According to the American History Museum, a pair of silver shoes was dyed red and then covered in a netting of red sequins. The dazzling product helped lend the shoes their magical air. One of the first films in technicolor, the movie made excellent use of color in costume and set design elements, including the Emerald City, the yellow brick road and, of course, the ruby slippers.

The loan allows for two Ruby-Slipper “firsts.” It will be the first time that the slippers leave the country and also the first time that they are exhibited with Dorothy’s equally iconic blue gingham dress. State-bound fans can follow the shoes across the Atlantic with the American History Museum’s blog.

Don’t fret, though, the Ruby Slippers will return. The museum plans to bring them back for the holidays, returning the Ruby Slippers to their perch on November 21. In the meantime, the hat and boots worn by the actor Ray Bolger as the the Scarecrow will be on view through October 20 in the museum’s “1939″ exhibition on the third floor.

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About Leah Binkovitz
Leah Binkovitz

Leah Binkovitz is a Stone & Holt Weeks Fellow at Washington Post and NPR. Previously, she was a contributing writer and editorial intern for the At the Smithsonian section of Smithsonian magazine.

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