The Judy Garland Museum® was founded in 1975 by Jackie Dingmann as a way 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:
- World's largest collection of Judy Garland
- The restored Judy Garland Historic House
- The Children's Discovery Museum interactive exhibits
- Memorial Gardens & Gazebo
- Lions & Tigers & Bears Exhibit
- Museum Store
Organized as a Minnesota non-profit, educational corporation with 501c(3) tax deductible status, the Judy Garland Museum® is governed by a ten member board of directors.
Selected Grant Awards
- Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board, IRRRB
- State of Minnesota
- Itasca County
- City of Grand Rapds
- The Streisand Foundation
- Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation
- Blandin Foundation
- Minnesota Humanities Center
The Story of a Family and their House
Featured in Architectural Digest Magazine
If buildings could talk, they would tell stories, just the way we do. The modest white clapboard structure in Grand Rapids, Minnesota has a store of memories that it shares with thousands of visitors a year. For over 20 years, caring conservators have kept the house in order and brought collections and memories together. They tell the story of the gifted child who was born here.
She became the entertainer the world knows as Judy Garland. Her home was already thirty years old when she came along and shortly began to astonish family and friends.
The Judy Garland House was built in May of 1892 by Andrew and Mary Shook. Andrew Shook was the captain of the steamboat, Fawn, which plied the Mississippi River to the terminus in Grand Rapids.
The house was purchased by State Senator Daniel Gunn by tax default in 1905, and it underwent a major remodeling in 1915.
In March 1919, Judy's parents Frank and Ethel Gumm purchased their first family home which was their residence for the next seven years. Judy Garland spent her formative years in this house from her birth in 1922 until October of 1926.
The Gumm family resided in Grand Rapids for 12 years from 1914 until 1926. They were very active in the community. Judy's father, Frank Gumm, led the Episcopal Church choir and was a reporter for the now defunct Itasca County Independent newspaper. He introduced the town song before a crowd of over 200 people at the Legion Hall. Mother Ethel organized many community style shows and school plays. The family regularly performed vaudeville acts at the New Grand Theater between showings of silent films. Judy's father, Frank Gumm, owned a partial interest in the theater, along with other movie houses in Cohasset, Deer River, and Coleraine.
The house has been lovingly restored to appear as it did when Judy's family occupied the dwelling in the mid 1920s. Some good 1920s photographs surfaced, and a half dozen people remembered certain aspects of the interior.
The structure is associated with the life of a very important person of the past who made significant contributions to broad patterns in American history.
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 the Minnesota Office of Tourism.
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. Abraham Lincoln 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 - Completd 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".
The carriage used in the "Wizard of Oz", This Barouche Carriage, is a Civil War era Brewster, which was constructed of hand-forged iron work, and the body of American hardwoods. The comfortable riding carriage features C-Springs suspended with leather, designed with a front driver's seat, interior Vis-a vis seating arrangement, and a black retractable soft top. The two large rear and two smaller front wheels are American mail hubbed, accompanied by a pole, shafts, and swaggle trees. Handwritten on one of the four wooden bows, which is the framework for the folding top, is A. Lincoln, June 8, 1863.
The carriage is first seen as the doors to the Emerald City open for “Dorothy” and “Toto”, “The Scarecrow”, “The Tin Man”, and the “Cowardly Lion”. The carriage is driven by Frank Morgan (who played Professor Marvel, the Carriage driver, doorman, guard, and the Wizard) and pulled by “The Horse of a Different Color”; “Dorothy” and friends ask to be taken to see the “The Wizard” after their long journey; but first they freshen up at The Wash & Brush Up Co.
HA-HA-HA HO- HO-HO AND A COUPLE OF TRA-LA-LAS
THAT’S HOW WE LAUGH THE DAY AWAY IN THE MERRY OLD LAND OF OZ
BOOS-BOOS-BOOS CHIRP-CHIRP-CHIRP AND A COUPLE OF LA-DE-DAS
THAT’S HOW THE CRICKETS CRICK ALL DAY IN THE MERRY OLD LAND OF OZ
WE GET UP AT TWELVE AND START TO WORK AT ONE
TAKE AN HOUR FOR LUNCH AND THEN AT TWO WE’RE DONE
JOLLY GOOD FUN!
HA-HA-HA HO-HO-HO AND A COUPLE OF TRA-LA-LAS
THAT’S HOW WE LAUGH THE DAY AWAY IN THE MERRY OLD LAND OF OZ
Judy Garland Festival
Watch for more details to come!
Honoring Stars from the past,
and inspiring talent for our future.
Top state travel-award winning Wizard of Oz Festival has played host to major celebrities including,
- Mickey Rooney
- June Allyson
- Margaret O’Brien
- Donald O’Connor
- Jayne Meadows
- June Lockhart
- The Wicked Witch of the West Margaret Hamilton
- Andy Williams
- Jane Powell
- The Munchkins
Wizard of Oz Trivia:
- The famous "Surrender Dorothy" sky writing scene was done using a tank of water and a tiny model witch attached to the end of a long hypodermic needle. The syringe was filled with milk, the tip of the needle was put into the tank and the words were written in reverse while being filmed from below. See more
- Frank Morgan played 5 parts: Professor Marvel, The Wizard of Oz, the Gatekeeper, the Carriage Driver, The Guard.
- The Scarecrow face makeup that Ray Bolger wore consisted, in part, of a rubber prosthetic with a woven pattern to suggest cloth. By the time the film was finished the prosthetic had left a pattern of lines on his face that took more than a year to vanish.
- The horses in Emerald City were colored with Jell-O crystals. The relevant scenes had to be shot quickly, before the horses started to lick it off.
- When the Witch tries to get off the ruby slippers, fire strikes her hands. This "fire" was actually dark apple juice spewing out of the shoes. The film was sped up to make it look like fire.
- The shot of Dorothy's house falling from the sky was achieved by filming a miniature house being dropped onto a sky painting on the stage floor, then reversing the film to make the house appear to fall towards the camera.
- The "tornado" was 35-foot-long muslin stocking, spun around among miniatures of a Kansas farm and fields in a dusty atmosphere.
- The Cowardly Lion's facial makeup included a brown paper bag. Actor Bert Lahr couldn't eat without ruining his makeup. Tired of eating soup and milkshakes, he decided to eat lunch and have his makeup redone.
- As the most watched movie in history, the 1939 MGM film Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland, has been seen by over 3 billion people.
- Over the Rainbow, was named the top song of the 20th century in a survey conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America.
- American Film Institute: Tribute, Among Women, Judy Garland has the most nominations in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 best songs in the U.S. cinema with nine including “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz.
- Since 1932-33, when the Oz books appeared in French, the Oz stories have been printed in 22 languages.