You don’t have to wait for a tornado to whisk you away to the magical land of Oz, thanks to the Oz Museum, which is fittingly located in a small Kansas town.
Founded in 2004 on a large grant from the state of Kansas, the museum celebrates not just the famous 1939 film, but the story of Oz as a cultural phenomenon that began with L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
The museum’s collection contains thousands of Oz-related artifacts and collectibles, such as early books from Baum’s series, board games, and playbills. In addition to the ever-growing collection of relics and ephemera, the museum has a number of displays that bring scenes from the Judy Garland musical to life. You can see a room painted like Dorothy’s black-and-white farmhouse, which transitions to a brightly lit room where you can take some steps down the yellow brick road.
Since the Oz Museum’s establishment, a small community of Oz-related businesses has popped up in the surrounding area, such as a winery and a taco restaurant (Toto’s Tacoz). The town of Wamego may be small, but with all of the magic packed into the “Oz cluster,” as the locals call it, visitors can’t be blamed for thinking they’ve stepped into a whole other magical world.
Know Before You Go
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. During the rest of the year, it's open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. Adult admission is $9.00 and admission for kids ages three to 12 is $7.00.