You don’t have to wait for a tornado to whisk you away to the magical land of Oz thanks to the Oz Museum, 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 museum’s collection contains over 2,500 Oz-related artifacts and collectables such as early books from Baum’s series, board games, and playbills. They say it takes 45 minutes, but you can view it all in about 10. In addition to the ever-growing collection of relics and ephemera, the site has a number of displays that bring scenes from the Judy Garland musical, such as a room painted like Dorothy’s black-and-white farmhouse which transitions to a brightly lit room where visitors can take some steps down the yellow brick road.
Since the Oz Museum’s establishment, a small community of Oz-related businesses have popped up in the surrounding area such as a winery and a taco restaurant (Toto’s Tacos). 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 world.