LONDON — It’s the ultimate $300,000 shoe shine!
The ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in the beloved 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” are set to undergo a major conservation effort following a successful crowdfunding campaign.
The Smithsonian, which has displayed the iconic slippers at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. for more than 30 years, confirmed Monday that it has reached its $300,000 fundraising target.
More than 5,300 donors contributed to the fundraising effort on Kickstarter, which launched last week. Most donations were relatively small, but one individual made a $10,000 contribution.
The Smithsonian launched the campaign because the shoes were slowly degrading and losing their luster.
After hitting the $300,000 goal, the Smithsonian quoted a line from the famous “Wizard of Oz” song — “Over the Rainbow” — and said “The dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”
Donated funds will pay for conservation work and a special climate-controlled case for the shoes. It’s expected that additional money raised over the coming weeks will be used to preserve other items from the film.
The Smithsonian receives federal funding for its operations, but this money only covers about 60% of its annual budget. It needs help from individual donors to cover other expenses, including new exhibitions.
The Smithsonian, which oversees 19 museums and galleries, has successfully used Kickstarter in the past.
A 2015 campaign raised nearly $720,000 to conserve and display Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit at the National Air and Space Museum. The campaign exceeded its initial fundraising goal of $500,000, and surplus funds were used to preserve another space suit from the early 1960s.