The pair of shoes in possession by the museum, one of at least 5 or 6 pairs used in the movie, are faded and visibly damaged:
“Even to the naked eye the damage is quite obvious: the color has faded and the slippers appear dull and washed-out,” the museum explains in their Kickstarter. “The coating on the sequins that give the shoes their hallmark ruby color is flaking off its gelatin base. Some threads that hold sequins in place have broken.”
But not all of that money will go towards actual repairs. The funds will also aid research in how best to display the shoes for longevity’s sake – i.e. temperature, lighting, and upkeep. The slippers will be a part of Smithsonian’s 2018 exhibition “On With the Show.”
But why so much money?
“Federal appropriations provide the foundation of the Smithsonian’s operating budget and support core functions, such as building operations and maintenance, and safeguarding the collections,” the Kickstarter continues. “Projects like the Ruby Slippers aren’t covered by our federal appropriations.”
Smaller scale donations earn you tote bags and other merchandise from costumer designer William Ivey Long, while offerings over $1K can get you a lunch and private tour with museum curators.