Oz Museum Review: Enchanting & Memorable (Wamego, Kansas)

Just a quick 40-minute drive west of Topeka, you’ll uncover a treasure that’s an absolute must-see for enthusiasts of the Wizard of Oz. Known as the Oz Museum, this captivating gem beautifully encapsulates the enchantment of the iconic 1939 film and its various adaptations.

Having recently had the honor of exploring this fantastical museum, let me share with you the journey is like.

What is the Oz Museum?

The Oz Museum, located in Wamego, Kansas, is a museum dedicated to the classic story “The Wizard of Oz” and its various adaptations, including the famous 1939 film starring Judy Garland.

Opened in 2004, the museum celebrates the legacy of L. Frank Baum, the author of the original “Wizard of Oz” book, and the enduring popularity of the story and its characters.

Oz Museum

Where is the Oz Museum?

The Oz Museum is located in Wamego, Kansas, USA. The exact address is: 511 Road to Oz Highway, Wamego, KS 66547.

Part of the fun is the journey along the way as you drive down the “Road to Oz” Highway on your way to the museum.

road to oz sign

Just steps away from the museum, you’ll encounter a delightful array of Oz-themed establishments such as Toto’s Tacos and the Oz Winery, transforming your visit into a town-wide Oz extravaganza.

And if you’re lucky enough to be here during the fall, the town comes alive with the annual “OZtoberFest” celebration. Streets close down, giving way to a lively spectacle of food vendors, craft stalls, live performances, costume contests, scavenger hunts, trivia, and more. For those with an unwavering passion for all things Oz, this event is an absolute must-attend.

oz winery

Additionally, stay observant as you explore the city, for it’s a place where hidden references to this beloved tale are scattered, offering unexpected encounters and delightful surprises along the way.

Our experience at the Oz Museum

We arrived about 10 minutes before the museum opened which was perfect timing because it gave us some time to check out the iconic yellow brick road directly across from the museum.

Oz Museum yellow brick Road

It’s an alleyway adorned with Wizard of Oz murals and Toto statues and you definitely don’t want to miss it on your visit.

The Toto sculptures are part of the “Totos Around Town” art project where you can find 15 Toto sculptures each featuring a one of a kind of design. It’s a concept several other towns have gone with such as the “Pikas in the Park” at Estes Park. Check the museum for a map of all of the Totos.

Oz Museum yellow brick Road

Once we entered the museum, we were greeted by very friendly staff members and we purchased our tickets which were only $10 for adults, which I felt like was a great value.

Prepare for your entrée into the museum with a nostalgic welcome on the sepia-toned porch, a fitting prelude before stepping into the vibrant technicolor realm of Oz.

As you cross the threshold, a heartwarming encounter awaits you—Dorothy and Toto extending their greeting in the whimsical landscape of Munchkinland.

Oz Museum

Throughout the museum, you’ll find a trove of over 2,000 artifacts, some of which are on rotation so things may look a little different each time you visit.

You’ll find details both big and small from the movie and tons of memorabilia from over 100 years of Oz history.

Among the initial captivating displays, you’ll encounter the very first edition of the enchanting “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” book, a treasure that marked the inception of this wondrous saga. Alongside it, an array of subsequent adaptations is seen, offering a glimpse into the ever-evolving universe of Oz.

You’ll also find life-sized re-imaginations of its iconic characters. Whether it’s gazing at Dorothy’s innocence or standing beside the resilient Tin Man, these detailed recreations offer endless photo ops.

Oz Museum tin man

Among the captivating collection, you’ll discover an array of original props from the 1939 film, including an assortment of Munchkin apparel that has been meticulously preserved over the decades.

Explore the vintage production notes from the 1939 MGM masterpiece, a rare glimpse into the past. These precious documents stand as some of the few surviving remnants from that era, as the practice of discarding such articles was commonplace at the time.

Oz Museum arifacts

Among the captivating highlights is the official death certificate of none other than the Wicked Witch of the West herself.

At some point, you’ll surely notice the the hand jeweled ruby slippers, covered in over 3,500 Swarovski crystals, which were created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the making of the movie.

Where are the original slippers?

Well, there are multiple pairs that were used in the movie and they are located all over. One of the pairs was destined for the museum but en route to the museum in 2005 they were stolen!

In fact, someone has been recently indicted for the theft and will face a federal trial.The slippers were recovered in 2018 and are currently being used as trial exhibits worth $3.5 million! Unfortunately, it’s doubtful they will ever make their way to the museum.

Oz Museum

Certain original props, due to their fragility, are no longer available for public display. This holds true for the delicate rubber flying monkey miniatures featured in the film.

Among approximately 300, merely four have endured the test of time, with two of these precious artifacts resting within the museum’s vault. Too delicate to be put on display and with a waning life span, you can find life-sized photos of them in the exhibits.

There’s a theater in the back of the museum where you can always catch an Oz film playing and outside on the floor you can compare your hands to the imprints made by the original munchkins.

Oz Museum theatre

Summon your courage as you venture into the depths of the haunted forest. And as you emerge from its enigmatic embrace, brace yourself for an unforgettable rendezvous with one of history’s most renowned witches.

Oz Museum haunted forest

Explore various corners of the museum where documentaries are showcased on repeat. While these films may stretch over a bit more time, I recommend taking a moment to check them out.

Through these documentaries, you’ll get a closer look at the dynamics on the set and insight into the ingenious techniques that brought the film’s special effects to life.

Oz Museum arifacts

As your Oz adventure draws to a close, don’t miss the chance to step into a whimsical hot air balloon before bidding farewell to this magical realm.

Oz Museum arifacts hot air balloon

As mentioned, the museum touches on various adaptations of the Wizard of Oz, offering a plethora of artifacts and memorabilia spanning diverse creations such as “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz,” “The Wiz,” “Wicked,” and even one of the more contemporary productions, “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

From signed photographs to props used in these productions, you can immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of Oz-inspired creativity.

Oz Museum artifacts wicked

Once you exit out you’ll be able to take a second look at the gift shop. We ended up purchasing the Wizard of Oz book after our curiosity was piqued.

But that’s not all; the museum also boasts an array of diverse souvenirs, spanning from eye-catching T-shirts to charming mugs and various other keepsakes. And for a mere two dollars, you can experience the exhilarating Gale Force tornado machine, where you’ll feel the electrifying sensation of being swept up in a tornado, just like Dorothy.

Oz Museum tornado machine

Final word

Our experience at the Oz Museum was nothing short of delightful. Even if it entails a slight detour, the journey to this museum is an investment that pays off handsomely in time well-spent.

I’d suggest indulging in the film before your visit if feasible, to rekindle the storyline’s essence. And if you can manage to delve into the original book or its subsequent continuations, even better.

The Wizard of Oz story holds a singular enchantment, a kind of magic that’s truly its own, and this museum has harnessed that very essence. Through its careful curation and thoughtful presentation, it crafts an experience that is nothing short of captivating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *