Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Not in Kansas Anymore

Wizard of Oz Section - American History Museum Gift ShopBeing from Kansas, I’m used to hearing Wizard of Oz references. As soon as I finish telling someone where I’m from, there’s about a 90% chance that they will remind me with a smile, “Well, you’re not in Kansas anymore.” Very creative. You kind of get numb to this stuff and just try to smile and move on. Despite my high tolerance level for all things Wizard of Oz, I had an interesting encounter yesterday that made even me pause for a moment to take it all in.

You see I was visiting the National Museum of American History here in Washington. After my visit I headed down to the gift shop to look for something on President Lincoln. To my amazement, as I walked in the door I was greeted by an entire section¬†devoted to the Wizard of Oz. I’ve been here before and remember some Wiz stuff lying around, but since my last visit they have enlarged the “collection” and moved it right to the front of the store.

I get it…the ruby slippers are on display in the museum here and it’s all very nice. But for goodness sake, this is the Museum of American History…a few more things happened in last 250 years than the Wizard of Oz! Try not to trip over Toto if you want to find something on George Washington. They’ve got this big flag here called the Star Spangled Banner…sure wish I could see some stuff about that.¬†I finally managed to find a few books about Abraham Lincoln shoved in the back of the store and then moved on.

I did actually take another look at the Star Spangled Banner before leaving. I never get tired of seeing it. As I was walking out of the exhibit with my American spirit refreshed, a teenage-looking boy was leaving too and exclaimed, “Well, that was a waste of time.” A little saddened I headed out the front door toward the National Mall. As I continued my quest for patriotism inducing activities, I happened to pass a young girl who I heard declare with great amazement, “I saw the ruby slippers!”

4 Responses to Not in Kansas Anymore

  1. Erin

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. As a museum staff member, it’s always interesting to me which objects are “the big deal” for which visitors. For many, Lincoln’s hat is the pinnacle of their visit. Or the flag. Sometimes the ruby slippers or Kermit. Everyone connects to something different. In any case, we really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and feedback.

    Best,
    Erin
    New Media Dept.
    National Museum of American History

  2. Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

    Erin,

    Thanks for the comment. I hope my post was taken in jest as intended. I absolutely love the Museum…even the ruby slippers. In a strange sort of way, we Kansans are actually sort of proud of the attention.

  3. Kathy Sexton

    We are happy to hear that you have arrived safely in DC.
    You may want to click the heels of those red shoes when you are ready to head back to Kansas.

    You are missed here.
    God bless, Kathy

  4. Natalie Mickelson

    You may not be here any longer but you are certainly in our thoughts still!
    Take care while away.
    -The Mickelson Family

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