There are giants in the forests of Kentucky! The family of Forest Giants at Bernheim Forest are magical & Must See Gems!
Visit a Wizard of OZ Museum in Kansas!
Our little Dorothy & Glinda with our much beloved Tin Man at the OZ Museum in Kansas. His collar is signed by children’s author Roger Baum. Roger is great grandson of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’s original author, L. Frank Baum. Roger continues to contribute to the Oz series.
“A baby has brains, but it doesn’t know much. Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on Earth the more experience you are sure to get.“
– The Wizard to the Scarecrow in L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz
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The OZ Museum in Kansas
Our top must-do when traveling to Dorothy’s home state, for the 1st time, was to find a Wizard of Oz museum in Kansas. Stat! Not an easy feat over a century after the book was published and over 80 years after the popular movie debuted. But, we found the perfectly, lovely OZ Museum in Wamego, Kansas which delighted our whole family, teen boys, mom & dad, too! We’re big fans and we’re not alone. Fans around the world still celebrate the adored movie and book with festivals, exhibits, theatre & events. Many collect the sometimes hard to find memorabilia of a story we love that takes us back to the wonder of being a kid. The museum has exhibits surrounding not only the legendary film starring Judy Garland (Dorothy), Jack Haley (Tin Man), Ray Bolger (Scarecrow), Bert Lahr (Lion) & more, but they cover everything OZ related! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love the Wizard of Oz, what’s not to love?! Characters have never been more perfectly portrayed than by the one’s in this film. They captured our imagination and won our hearts. But, I don’t have to convince you that it’s awesome! Wamego is 40 minutes West of Topeka, 17 miles off the Interstate and totally worth the drive.
On the yellow brick road with Dorothy in Munchkinland. (not visible in pic) The Wicked Witch of the West’s legs with the ruby red slippers are protruding from under Dorothy’s house.
Inside the Museum- Kansas to OZ
You enter into a gift shop with the biggest collection of Wizard of OZ memorabilia I’ve ever seen. A wide variety of unique items for your home & garden, clothing items, toys, bags, jewelry, seasonal items and more. It also has a wind simulator if you want a tiny taste of a tornado! The gift shop also has a giant tin man (Love!!!) and the exterior of Dorothy’s barn and house. Mrs Gulch’s bike is perched on top of the roof. You enter the museum through the door to Dorothy’s little house and just follow the yellow brick road from there! The museum, itself, is smaller than many museums, today, but a really good size with much to see, especially considering how old the movie & book. It’s fully packed with exhibits and over a century of original artifacts and history from the many books, tv shows, spin-offs, Wicked the Broadway musical, OZ, The Wiz, the silent films, Laurel & Hardy version, and vintage Wizard of Oz and character collectibles and movie memorabilia. They have over 2,000 pieces in their collection. An impressive number of them are rare, one of a kind pieces. The exhibits include many interesting facts and trivia from the movie, books, & tv shows regarding the characters, actors, authors & filming that are little known. A mini theater plays the beloved 1939 Wizard of Oz movie. ♥
Some of the Museum Highlights:
- Popular scenes with characters from the movie, including walking through the ‘Haunted Forest’, past the ‘Turn back now!’ sign on the way to the witch’s castle. Great photo ops and so much fun to walk through the simulated movie scenes!!!
- More than a few original movie costumes and accessories from some of the munchkins
- Costume pieces and props from the Wicked Broadway musical
- A pair of replica hand-jeweled ruby slippers, covered in over 3,500 Swarovski crystals, created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the movie. These are a very, very good likeness of the real slippers used in the movie, on exhibit at The National Museum of American History in Washington DC.
- Doors and windows from a munchkin house, used in the The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.
- Original illustrator, WW Denslow’s 24 color illustrations from the 1st edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (c. 1900), along with exclusive OZ memoirs.
- Hand-painted character masks
- Flying monkey miniatures used in the Wizard of Oz movie
- OZ toys such as a Woozy Doll made by L. Frank Baum.
- original movie posters
- Rare autographs by original actors, including those who played Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, and munchkins
- Original “Winkie Guard” spear used in the movie with a full size Winkie guard replica that looks so real and accurate, it’s like he’s straight from the movie, too. The ‘Winkie Guard’ is the witch’s guard (the “O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!”’, or ‘oh we oh!’ guys).
- Original movie production notes on the actual script
- The Wicked Witch’s death certificate signed and presented by the Munchkin Coroner in the movie
- Scarecrow Ray Bolger’s passport
- Yellow brick from L Frank Baum’s military grade school that inspired his book, later
- Glinda’s the good witch of the North’s sparkling rhinestone and pearl brooch from the movie
- Miss Gulch’s (Wicked Witch of the West) eye glasses from the movie
- Encased in the floor outside the theater are the hand prints and autographs of a number of actors who played munchkins
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The scenes have all 4 of the main characters, but also the Haunted Forest, Witch’s castle, Glinda, and the Emerald City. Plenty of great photo ops for fans, big and little!
What the Wheats think of the OZ Museum:
If you are a fan of the movie and/ or book (and really, who isn’t?), you will adore this gem! From a movie that is over 80 years old, they have more original artifacts than I would have ever expected. It’s not just games, toys & memorabilia that a collector has shared from a private collection. The OZ Museum is curated for museum quality. They still continue to add to their impressive collection. Keep in mind, the infrequent times that the few, remaining pieces go up for auction, they usually sell for millions of dollars. The National Museum of American History has a few pieces and many others have been hoarded by private collectors. Also, they scrapped and re-purposed a lot of the movie sets and pieces. People didn’t value, save, and collect things for future generations like we do now. This little museum in Kansas is impressive and an absolute unique delight to walk through. This business isn’t a huge money maker. It’s obvious they do it because they love OZ just as much as we do. The care and love they put into the museum and exhibits is obvious. And I can’t thank them enough for plugging through and keeping this open to the public for all of us to enjoy and reminisce. It is an American treasure for the whole world to enjoy. The OZ museum in Wamego is worth your time and support if you’re ever in Kansas. You can still donate online, if you’re not! There are 2 other Wizard of OZ dedicated museums in the US. But, this is the only one in Dorothy & Toto’s home state of Kansas. Interestingly, we saw a farm-house and old metal windmill that looked so much like Dorothy’s farm, not far down the road!
The All Things Oz Museum is in Chittenango, NY, the birthplace of OZ author L. Frank Baum. A collector in Wausaukee, Wisconsin has created the Land of Oz museum. We have not been to these, yet, but plan to, for sure! There are also a few small, Wizard of OZ themed attractions or park areas in various states, too. I’ll post more of those, in the future!
Our little Dorothy and Glinda in the Haunted Forest on the way to the Witch’s castle and on to the Emerald City!
Good to Know:
- Wamego is a small town. There is plenty of free, street parking throughout.
- Hours– Current Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are Mon- Sat 9a- 6p, Sunday 12-6p. Their Winter hours are Mon- Sat 10a- 5p, Sunday 12-5p. Even Christmas Eve from 10a-2p, but closed other select holidays.
- Tickets are $9 for adults 13 & up and $7 for kids aged 3-12. Membership passes are tax deductible and available online. Online donations and sponsorships are also gratefully accepted.
- Discounted admission is $2 off for active military families (with id). $2 off for college students with id.
- Time– Take your time, enjoy the visit, read the exhibits. It’s not overly crowded and very enjoyable. The visit will take about 1- 2 hours, but can be done quickly if you’re in a hurry.
- There is no food other than snacks on site, but Toto’s TacOZ mexican restaurant is 2 doors down! Plenty of other mom & pop diners and food chains are available in town, too.
- The Gift Shop is great and packed with so many unique things you’ll want. We went a little overboard and still had a hard time paring down. They are available online, too.
- Wamego has an annual OZtoberfest festival, one of the largest Wizard of Oz celebrations in the US. Fans from around the world visit for costume contests, food, arts and crafts, live music, exclusive vendors, and special guests including Oz historians, authors and collectors.
511 Lincoln Ave
- The Wizard of Oz- The Classic Edition (based on L. Frank Baum’s original version, not the movie). Our girls have this version because we love the original book, too. It’s a hardcover, 104 page chapter book with bright, colorful illustrations.
- L. Frank Baum’s Classic Wonderful Wizard of Oz book, centennial edition. Original illustrations, but not in color, as they were released in 1900.
- Our little ‘Dorothy’s Toto in a basket in top article photo.
- Her Dorothy costume, in same.
- Our Glinda’s costume.
- Wizard of Oz movie
- OZ (HBO)- The Complete Seasons 1-6
- Legends of OZ: Dorothy’s Return- animated movie with Lea Michele, Dan Akroyd, Kelsey Grammer & Jim Belushi
- Original Movie Soundtrack for Wizard of Oz
- Return to Oz (Disney)
- The Wiz with Diana Ross, Michael Jackson & Richard Pryor
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