Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2022 Issue

Two Museums Are Dedicated to One Book


The virtual yellow brick road (Wizard of Oz Museum website).

Some authors are so popular they have museums dedicated to their work. Several have achieved that status. There is one for John Steinbeck in Salinas, California. Theodore Geisel, whom we all know as Dr. Seuss, has one in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. Go to Solvang, California, and there is a museum for Hans Christian Andersen, even if the author was Danish. In Indianapolis, you can visit the Kurt Vonnegut museum.


England has several of them. There's a Charles Dickens museum in London, one for Roald Dahl in Buckinghamshire, and a Beatrix Potter museum in Boweness-on-Windermere where Peter Rabbit lives on despite Mr. McGregor's attempts to bump him off. Jane Austen's house in Chawton is now her museum. In Prague, Czech Republic, there is one for native son Franz Kafka, even though when he was born, Prague was part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, part of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.


Once in a while, a particular book can be the subject of a museum. The Greisinger Museum in Jenins Switzerland, is dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. And, of course, the best-selling book ever, the Bible, has its own Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. But now, there is a book with two museums dedicated to it. The honor goes to L. Frank Baum's creation, the Wizard of Oz.


The newest Wizard of Oz museum is in Cape Canaveral, Florida. We're not in Kansas anymore, but perhaps one of the rockets they shoot into space from Cape Canaveral will get you to Oz faster than a tornado. The museum is the brainchild of Fred Trust, a native of Azerbaijan who so fell in love with the story that he eventually collected over 2,000 items related to it. With that many artifacts, what can you do but open a museum? Many of the items are related to movie and other adaptations of the Baum's story, but some go back to beginning, including a first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The feature of the museum is what they describe as an “immersive experience,” which through laser projections puts you inside the tornado or walking along the yellow brick road. The Wizard of Oz Museum will have its official grand opening on February 11, though it is open to the public already.


Closer to Dorothy's old stomping grounds is the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. It has been around since 2004. It too houses many artifacts relating to the story, including a first edition of the book.

Rare Book Monthly

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