Museums & the Movies: The Wizard of Oz

May 3, 2013


If you’re familiar with my features on museums and the movies, you might be thinking right now “Where does a museum feature in the Wizard of Oz?” Well, it doesn’t. Previously I’ve focused on museums on the big screen, but this time I thought I’d turn it round and look at things from on the big screen that have ended up in a museum.

The Movie: The Wizard of Oz, MGM, 1939, notable for its musical score – for which it received an Academy Award – and its use of Technicolor.

The Object: A pair of ruby slippers, on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C*.


The ruby slippers play a central part in the movie. When Dorothy Gale is transported to the land of Oz by a tornado, she crash lands her house on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her. The Good Witch of the North magically transfers the dead witch’s ruby slippers to Dorothy’s feet. She doesn’t know exactly what their specific special powers are, other than that their magic must be very powerful as the furious Wicked Witch of the West wants them badly. At the end of the movie, the ruby slippers are instrumental in getting Dorothy back home. As was customary for important movie props, a number of pairs were made for production. The ruby slippers on display at the museum are one of several surviving pairs worn by Judy Garland, who played Dorothy, and take centre stage in the exhibition ‘American Stories’.

Fun Fact: In L. Frank Baum’s original novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the slippers were silver. The colour was changed to red for the movie, to make the most of the new Technicolor.


Every good movie gets even better with a tasty movie snack, and I found just the thing in the wonderful book of crafts and recipes that I was given for my birthday last year: Everything Oz – The Wizard Book of Makes & Bakes. Here, Christine Leech and Hannah Read-Baldrey have taken Baum’s much loved tale as inspiration for over 50 projects ranging from a Dorothy dress-up doll, Munchkin hat egg cosies and Winged Monkey bath towel, to cyclone cupcakes, Emerald City jelly and an ‘Over the Rainbow’ cake.To go with the ruby slippers, however, I’ve chosen an adaptation of the ‘Box o’ Bricks Coconut Ice’.

Chocolate & Vanilla Coconut Ice – makes about 20
(adapted from Everything Oz, by C. Leech & H. Read-Baldrey))


  • 4 cups desiccated coconut
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sieved
  • 6 tablespoons condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sieved
  • vanilla extract
  • yellow food colouring

You will also need: 2 mixing bowls, a tumbler of mug, grease proof paper, a rolling pin, a baking tray


  • In one bowl, add 1 cup coconut, 1 cup icing sugar and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and mix together well. The add 2 tablespoons of condensed milk a bit at a time, until you have a mixture that holds together well but is not too wet.
  • In the second bowl, mix together the remaining 3 cups coconut and 3 cups icing sugar. In your tumbler or mug, mix together the remaning 4 tablespoons condensed milk with a couple of drops of vanilla extract and enough food colouring to make a nice yellow colour (German food colouring seems to be less potent than British, so my Yellow Brick Road turned out quite pale). Then add the condensed milk mixture to the dry ingredients a bit at a time, until you again have a mixture that holds together well but is not too wet.
  • Divide the yellow mixture in to two halves. Lay out three strips of grease proof paper, one for each of your three mixtures (2 x yellow, 1 x brown). With your rolling pin, roll the yellow mixtures out to about 1cm thickness and the brown to about 3mm thickness, trying to keep them all rectangular and as much the same size as possible.
  • Carefully place the brown rectangle, with the grease proof paper facing up, on top of one of the yellow rectangles. Press down on the layers with your rolling pin so that they stick together, then peel off the grease proof paper from the top. Repeat with the second yellow rectangle to create a brick effect, with the brown layer in the middle. This time, leave the grease proof paper on top.
  • Slide your block of ice on to the baking tray and put it in the fridge for at least an hour to harden. Then use a sharp, non serrated knife to cut the block in to bricks.
  • Munch on a couple of bricks whilst watching The Wizard of Oz and dreaming of a pai of ruby slippers.


The Wizard of Oz movie, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz novel, and the Everything Oz book are available on Amazon. Please note that these are not affiliate links, I’m just a big fan of the Wizard of Oz. The photograph of the ruby slippers from the Museum of American History is actually from their old display, in their new display the shoes are positioned slightly differently but my new photos did not turn out as well.

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4 Responses to “Museums & the Movies: The Wizard of Oz”

  1. Emerritt Says:

    The Wizard of Oz may not BE a museum, but is has spawned a museum–the (fictiona) Museum of the Emerald City of Oz (aka MECO), which has been the subject of a number of MAP and accreditation case studies developed by the American Alliance of Museums. The good news is, the flying monkeys eventually reformed, and became the MECO security staff.


  2. Elisa Says:

    I LOVE The Wizard Of Oz, it’s one of my favorite movies! Or at least it was until I read Wicked, which spoiled for me a bit… but the Wicked musical is incredible.

    Thanks for the recipe, maybe I’ll bake some with my daughters for a Wizard of Oz movie night!


    • jennifuchs Says:

      I read Wicked too, then went to see the musical. Quite different endings! Hope you enjoy the coconut ice if you give it a try. Thanks for visiting :)



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