If buildings could talk, they would tell stories, just the way we do.

The Judy Garland Museum® was founded in 1975 by Jackie Dingmann to honor this great 20th Century artist, and Grand Rapids native, Judy Garland. The new 13,000 square foot Museum observed its grand opening in June 2003. Paired with the Children’s Discovery Museum, the Judy Garland Museum ® provides an eclectic collection of Judy Garland memorabilia and the restored Judy Garland Historic House.


“Everything I can remember about Grand Rapids has charm and gaiety, you know, and I remember when I – the first time I can remember singing when anybody took any notice was, my father was playing the piano, and I had a little girl friend, I don’t remember her name, but she was so small, maybe around 2, and my dad taught us to sing 'My Country T'is of Thee', my dad played the upright piano and conned my mom and sisters into listening to us.

- Judy Garland

Museum Timeline

1970s - 1980's

1975 - Museum founded by Jackie Dingmann in the Old Central School.
1979 - Festival guest of honor: The Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton.
1989 - 50th anniversary Wizard of Oz Festival draws 30,000 visitors. The event receives the Tarvel Marketing Award of Excellence from.


1990 - An expanded Judy Garland Exhibit opens in Old Central School.
1991 - The Judy Garland Historic House is secured for the people of America and the world.
1993 - Original Judy Garland and Wizard of Oz collections are acquired.
1994 - Museum incorporated as a nonprofit educational charity. Two acre Museum site is donated. The historic house is moved for the second time.
1995 - Restoration begins on the historic house. The carriage used in "The Wizard of Oz" is acquired and goes on public exhibit.
1996 - Completed restoration of the historic house and opened the home to the public.
1997 - Completed the Memorial Garden adjacent to the historic house. Opened a temporary children's museum in an old storefront building.
1999 - Launched the Museum's first website.


2000 - Children's Museum awarded a $1 million school service program grant.
2001 - 2002 - Capital campaign raises $1.2 million for a new program space.
2003 - Grand opening of the new Museum program space adjacent to the Historic House.
2004-2005 - Original ruby slippers on loan exhibit at the Museum each summer. Garden gazebo donated.
2006 - Opened the Faith Wick Fairyland doll exhibit. A successful fundraiser is held with Margaret O'Brien and a screening of "Meet Me in St. Louis" at the historic Heights Theatre in Minneapolis.
2007 - 2008 Accurate period furnishings and historic wallpaper further improve the Historic House presentation. Successful fundraiser held with Munchkin Jerry Maren and a screening of "The Wizard of Oz" at the historic Heights Theatre in Minneapolis.
2009 - Birch and maple hardwood floors are restored in the historic house. Authentic exterior details added.
2010 - Launched a new website. Took the annual festival on the road to Minneapolis. Mounted traveling exhibits at Orchestra Hall and the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.
2010 - Burned the mortgage on the Museum program space.
2011 - First edition Wizard of Oz book donated for the permanent collection.
2013 - A sell-out performance of the History Theatre's production of "Beyond the Rainbow: Garland at Carnegie Hall" is held at the Reif Center for the Performing Arts during the annual Festival.
2014 - A Guinness World Record for the most dressed-up Wizard of Oz characters is set by the Museum with 1,093 participants. A new "Land of Oz" exhibit is fabricated and opened to the public during the 75th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz".