The Oz Club is now represented year-round at the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. Three cheers! This charming little town has become a destination for 30,000 Oz fans a year since it opened The Oz Museum in 2003. I’m delighted to think all those fans now will learn about our Oz Club when they visit.
In 2017 the Oz Museum generously loaned an MGM Munchkin soldier jacket to an Oz toy exhibit I assembled here in Kansas City. A side effect of that exhibit was my thinking about all the small topical displays I’d love to put together if I only had a place. In my backyard. Like…. Wamego. I bounced the idea off Ryan Jay, chairman of the Club’s Planning Committee, because I know he’s interested in finding solid strategic partners with which we can work. He encouraged to me to pursue the idea, so I wrote the museum director. My proposal included enough ideas to provide two displays a year for the next decade.
First up? “Passport to Oz.” Of course, for me going to Oz means going to a Club convention, and I’ve been to my share of festivals, too. But back in 1992 Stan Barker wrote a two-page article in the Baum Bugle about the history of Oz Amusement parks and I became intrigued with places a fan could visit where they can have some kind of Oz experience. Since then I’ve stayed in Dorothy’s House at the Land of Oz in North Carolina. I saw the MGM Grand when it was all decked out with Oz, and I rode the Great Movie Ride in Orlando. I’ve followed the Yellow Brick Road in Aberdeen, SD, and played mini-golf with other Oz fans at Sluggers and Putters in Ohio. Those sculptures in Chicago’s Oz Park have most certainly spoken to me.
For the majority of Oz fans, that much pursuit of Oz adventure is not the norm. Awareness of these fun, Ozzy places just isn’t widespread. So I picked that as our first display theme and rounded up souvenirs and ephemera from my collection, added images to signage and pulled this together.
Up in time for 2017 Oztoberfest, I suspect around March I’ll change it out for a next theme.
Meanwhile, I’m now free to switch gears and concentrate on finishing up the Club’s 2018 calendar. Chances are strong you’ll be hearing about that in my next blog.