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Smithsonian Launches Kickstarter Campaign To Repair Ruby Slippers

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the 1939 film "The Wizard Of Oz," the Wicked Witch of the West is on a mission to get the magical ruby slippers back.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE WIZARD OF OZ")

MARGARET HAMILTON: (As the Wicked Witch of the West) They're gone. The ruby slippers, what have you done with them? Give them back to me or I'll...

BILLIE BURKE: (As Glinda) It's too late. There they are, and there they'll stay.

MONTAGNE: And stay they have but not on Dorothy. The ruby slippers have been on display for over 30 years at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

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DAWN WALLACE: They are almost 80 years old, and I don't know how many people have shoes that last that long.

MONTAGNE: That's Dawn Wallace, conservator for the museum. She's speaking in a video as part of the museum's attempt to raise funds on Kickstarter.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The slippers need some shoe repair. The museum's Richard Barden explains.

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RICHARD BARDEN: We believe light has had a strong effect on the ruby slippers. They're really discolored. They've darkened. They become opaque, and there's cracking.

INSKEEP: This is not the first time the museum has crowdfunded. Last year, they raised $700,000 to conserve Neil Armstrong and Alan Shepard's spacesuits.

MONTAGNE: The Smithsonian does get federal funding to keep the museums running and pay salaries, but no funds go to the upkeep of its artifacts. For the slippers, the museum's goal is $300,000. That money will go to research preservation conditions and also how to construct a controlled display case so the slippers continue to sparkle in their home at the museum because, as Dorothy says in the film...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE WIZARD OF OZ")

JUDY GARLAND: (As Dorothy) There's no place like home. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.