Can CNY support two Wizard of Oz museums?

House where L. Frank Baum met his wife, on West Onondaga Street in Syracuse.

In 1881, L. Frank Baum is believed to have met his wife, Maude Gage, in the front parlor of a home on West Onondaga Street in Syracuse.

The house was owned by Baumâ??s sister and brother-in-law. This week, the Lyman Frank Baum Foundation officially purchased the house from the Syracuse Land Bank. The foundation is planning for elaborate interactive exhibits at a museum called Oz Home.

"It's going to be beyond a museum. Itâ??s going to be classified as one, but it will do much more. People can use their imagination,â?? says Oz Home Executive Director Kathleen Di Scenna.

The foundation estimates the Oz home needs about $225,000 in renovations. It would be the second museum devoted to L. Frank Baum and the Wizard of Oz to open in Central New York.

The All Things Oz Museum in Baumâ??s birthplace of Chittenango moved into a larger, permanent home earlier this year. Both museums have been fundraising, and some have wondered: Can the area support two separate Oz museums?

Executive director Kathleen Di Scenna says the new Oz Home Museum is a historical site, and can co-exist with the Chittenango museum.

"Iâ??m certainly not a person who's out there to hurt them or take away from them because I want to see them flourish. I want to see any place with Oz flourish,â?? says Di Scenna.

One of the directors of the All Things Oz Museum, Colleen Zimmer, says she also believes "there is enough love for Oz worldwide for everyone to share."

For Oz fans, the idea of a new museum in Syracuse is exciting. Today supporters gathered in what is now Urban Outfitters to view a historical film about the Wizard of Oz. In the 1880's the Armory Square building was also owned by the Baum family.

"Kathleen has jumped through hoops to get the house and there's going to be just as many hoops to get it up to standard and ready,â?? said author Michael Siewert who wrote a book about Judy Garland.

Di Scenna says the plan is to have the Oz Home on West Onondaga Street open in the next five years. She has several Oz related events planned for the weekend of August 22-24th including a showing of the movie and special guests. More information is available at her Wizard of Oz Spectacular facebook page.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off