There were multiple pairs of the ruby slippers, sometimes referred to as ruby red shoes, worn by Dorothy Gale (portrayed by Judy Garland) in the 1939 movie version of the Wizard of Oz. The pair of ruby slippers pictured above and used in filming the movie was donated anonymously to the Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History in 1979.
In the original book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum the magic slippers were silver. But ruby red slippers provided a more striking appearance against a yellow brick road, so the silver slippers of the book were changed to ruby slippers for the movie. The photograph above shows the ruby slippers pictured on the yellow bricks in the museum’s display case.
Judy Garland wore these size 5 shoes when she was 16 years old. The pair in the Smithsonian have felt soles and may have been used for dancing.
The ruby red color of the shoes comes primarily from the glistening red sequins that cover the shoes. The round sequin discs are easily visible in the above photographs showing the sequins on the inner side (left side) of the right shoe.
Even though the ruby red color of the shoes comes primarily from red sequins, the bows use red from other sources. Each bow is covered with 46 red rhinestones, 42 red bugle beads and 3 large red jewels. These are easily seen in the close up photograph above.
Interestingly the bow pictured above is from the right shoe in the Smithsonian. That bow is a little bit odd shaped in that it does not have the same evenness and symmetry as the bows on the other known pairs of shoes used in the movie. Because this bow shape is recognizable, this pair of shoes is believed to be the primary pair worn by Judy Garland in the filming of the movie. For example this shoe with its slightly odd shaped bow can be seen on Judy Garland’s right foot when she enters the Emerald City throne room. Click Ruby Slipper Design to see the design of the ruby slippers including details of the bow on The Ruby Slipper Fan Club website.
This pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland is located in the Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History. Click Museum of American History to see the StationStart.com entry about the museum and its location.
Click Wizard of Oz to see a StationStart.com entry that summarizes information about the Wizard of Oz in and around Washington DC.
Closest Metro Station: The Federal Triangle Metro Station on the Blue and Orange Lines is nearest to the Constitution Avenue NW entrance to the museum, but the Smithsonian Metro Station, also on the Blue and Orange Lines, is only a little bit further from the National Mall entrance to the museum.