The Judy Garland Museum Needs Your Help to Get the Ruby Slippers Back | Playbill

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On the Rialto The Judy Garland Museum Needs Your Help to Get the Ruby Slippers Back

After a loaned pair was stolen and recovered, the Minnesota museum is looking to raise more than $3 million to add the iconic shoes to its permanent collection.

Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.

Minnesota's Judy Garland Museum is launching a fundraising campaign to add one of four known surviving pairs of ruby slippers worn by Garland in the iconic 1939 movie musical The Wizard of Oz to its permanent collection.

The pair in question, scheduled to go up for sale in December via Heritage Auctions and currently valued at $3.5 million, were previously on display at the museum, partially housed in the film star's childhood home in Grand Rapids. The shoes were on loan to the museum from collector Michael Shaw when they were famously stolen in 2005, and remained missing for almost two decades. In 2018, the FBI found the missing slippers, and by 2023 had figured out the culprits: Terry Jon Martin and Jerry Hal Saliterman.

According to The New York Times, Martin somehow believed the shoes were made with real rubies (they are mostly sequins, but the bows are lined with glass beads) and stole to them to pawn them off on the black market. When he discovered they were not made of jewels, he gave them to an accomplice to dispose of. Martin was sentenced to a year of supervised release for his bizarrely misguided crime earlier this year. Saliterman, the aforementioned accomplice, will be sentenced later this year.

Now, the Judy Garland Museum is clicking its heels three times to bring the shoes home, but needs a little extra help. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a bill earlier this year that will provide the institution with $100,000 to bid on the shoes. They're expected to go for anywhere from one to $10 million at auction, so there's much more to raise before December.

Two of the other surviving ruby slippers are on display at The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, California. The fourth pair is owned by a private collector.

The museum is currently accepting donations via Zeffy.

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