Posted by Kathy Shea on Apr 14, 2021
 
OZ Museum
 
GUEST SPEAKER:
Mary Glasglow
Curator of the OZ Museum in Wamego, KA
 
This is the only OZ museum in the U.S., and she believes in the world which was created because of the wildly popular movie “The Wizard of OZ.”.
 
The Wizard of OZ movie was loosely based on L. Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard of OZ.  This was first book of a series of that grew to 40 books.  And now the series has grown to 80 books.
 
L. Frank Baum traveled often to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  When he returned, he would tell a fairy tale to his children every night.  His inspirations for the story came from his visits to the World Fair and the questions his children would ask.  This is how Emerald City was born.
 
In 1893, J.C. Rogers came from Spring Hill to Wamego.  He was an entrepreneur and established the first national bank in Wamego.  He too visited the Chicago World’s Fair and wanted to recreate a first-class music hall in his hometown.  So, he built the Columbian Theatre.
 
These two attractions, the OZ Museum and the Columbian Theatre draw 40,000 visitors annually from around the world.  Many visit in costumes and consider themselves OZies.  And many local businesses such as the OZ Winery have developed because Wamego has become a tourist town.
 
In May of 1970, MGM studios auctioned many of the props and wardrobe.  Some items were junked.  Screen tests, film outtakes, and songs ended up in the Pacific Ocean.  Other items were tossed into the studio trash.  A lot of history was lost, but the items that could be salvaged can be viewed at the Museum.
 
Brenda Pollock’s son is a movie producer and she shared with us when her son attended college, the students had to list their favorite movie, and more than half the students listed The Wizard of Oz.
 
The original cast of the little Munchkins have visited the museum as special guests.  The last munchkin, the Lollipop Boy, passed in May 2019 at age 98.
 
Their annual OZtoberFEST is held on the first weekend of October.  Highway 99 is closed for 3 blocks for this 2-day street festival of music, hot air balloon rides, Yellow Brick Road Bike Ride, and much more.  People come in costume as far as Australia to celebrate.
 
There is an annual firework display name “Over the Rainbow.”  And the most popular attraction may be the full-size Glenda the Good Witch, as well as, the Wicked Witch of the West.
 
If you are ever in the area, Mary would be happy to show you around.
 
Here is a video link  they can watch it at their leisure to get an overview of what is in the museum, after the presentation today.
 
Go to ozmuseum.com.  Click on Visit, then About to access the latest virtual tour video.  We are on facebook as well, with our monthly video blogs by OZ Historian John Fricke.  Check it out!  
 
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