WAMEGO, Ks. — Kansas is known for many things — being the sunflower state, its role in the civil war, the large agriculture industry.
But, for those outside of the state, its perhaps best known as the home to Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz.
Have you ever imagined what the world looks like somewhere over the rainbow? A trip to the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas will put you right into the world ‘Wizard of Oz’ author L. Frank Baum created.
Chris Glasgow, Curator, Oz Museum, said “We cover over 120 plus years. Everything from the birth of the author in 1856 to today.”
“Including interesting tidbits about the classic wizard of oz books…”
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first children’s book that had color illustrations.”
And props, costumes and behind the scenes information from the famous 1939 film starring a young Judy Garland. Did you know that Shirley Temple was originally supposed to play Dorothy?
“But, they went and checked out one of her shows and realized she didn’t have the singing, dancing and acting ability to handle the role.”
“and the museum showcases this all in a fun, interactive and immersive way.”
Marissa Streeter, Oz Museum, said, “Once you enter the museum, you’ll be transported to the Sepia, Kansas world. Just like you would be at the beginning of the 1939 film and then you’re transported into the technicolor world of Oz.”
“When visiting the museum you follow Dorothy’s trip to Oz…and meet some of her friends along the way.”
Katlyn Stubbeman, Oz Museum, said, “How we set up the museum, meeting the characters in order. They almost feel like they’re going through Oz themselves. We have different models of the characters, from Munchkinland to the haunted forest to the Wicked Witch’s castle.”
And it’s not just the museum that will have you following the yellow brick road, downtown Wamego is dedicated to the Wizard of Oz and has become the unofficial home of Dorothy Gale.
“L. Frank Baum himself never specified a town that Dorothy was from. He said later on in an interview that it was a town about 45 minutes from Topeka and that happens to fit perfectly for us.”
A trip to the Oz Museum is perfect for all ages and lovers of the books or movie.
“It’s just been a staple in households for generations,” said Streeter.
“Most visitors grew up on the Wizard of Oz, watching it yearly and everything, so they get to experience it all over again,” said Stubbeman.
The Oz Museum is open daily, admission is nine dollars for adults and seven dollars for kids 3 to 12.
Face masks and social distancing are recommended in the museum.