“Nutcrackers, ornaments and books, oh my!” may not have a familiar ring, but that’s what you’ll find now in the Oz Club’s case at the OZ Museum.
“I’ve filled one case in the museum for the last few years, switching themes every six months,” explains Jane Albright, president of the International Wizard of Oz Club. “Covid prompted the museum to close last spring, so we left the previous theme in place longer than usual. It was an easy decision to use Christmas pieces over the holidays.”
Which pieces, however, wasn’t so easy to decide. Like the Oz Museum’s own collection, Jane’s is extensive. “I can encrust an 8-foot tree with ornaments. Selecting a few for the wreath boiled down to representing vintage and modern, MGM and storybook styles, mass-produced and home-made samples.”
Nutcrackers were easier. Characters already on display around the museum were ruled out, leaving a Dorothy, Munchkin Mayor, Winkie Guard, Flying Monkey and two Wizards.
“I wanted to include L. Frank Baum’s Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, published in 1902, his short story ‘A Kidnapped Santa Claus’, and the small ‘Christmas Stocking Series’ that includes a Baum introduction,” says Jane. That was easily accomplished with the books themselves, VHS tapes of book-based productions, and a figure of Santa created as a Life and Adventures collectible.
Christmas books illustrated by WW Denslow and John R. Neill, the original illustrators of Oz, are included, as is a publisher’s Christmas catalog from 1939. “I opened it to the page of Oz pieces promoted that year, then included samples of them in the case.”
To finish off the display you’ll see a set of Christmas carolers, a cake plate and cup from Japan, and a Christmas stocking for which Jane’s sister-in-law did the needlework.
The Club’s case is on your right as you reach the theater in the back of the Museum. “I’ll be back in late January with our next longer-term theme,” says Jane. “Until then, I hope your visitors will enjoy this glimpse into Wizard of Oz Christmas collectibles.”
Article by The International Wizard of Oz Club