Basehor museum travels to ‘Oz’ for Christmas exhibit
Preview: Basehor Historical Museum in land of 'Oz'
The Basehor Historical Museum's Christmas exhibit, "Winter Wonderland of AAHHZZ," is on display through Jan. 1.
Volunteers at the Basehor Historical Museum might never stop adding scenes from “The Wizard of Oz” to the museum's Christmas exhibit if it didn't have to go on display soon, Ken Massingill says.
“Once they get an idea, it just goes and goes and goes, until we run out of time,” said Massingill, himself a volunteer at the museum.
The museum's year-end exhibit, “Winter Wonderland of “AAHHZZ,” goes on display Saturday, where it will remain through Jan. 1. In order to help celebrate the end of the 150th anniversary year for the state of Kansas, it will incorporate a number of scenes from the 1939 film that museum director Carla Crawford says “kind of put Kansas on the map,” “The Wizard of Oz.”
Crawford, who began planning for the exhibit about a year ago, said she and a group of about 10 volunteers had put in long stretches of hours throughout November building and designing scenes and characters from the movie. They hope to give visitors the feeling they're coming someplace new, even if they've been to the museum before, Crawford said.
“You've got to create something for people to come see, rather than your traditional putting up trees and toys,” Crawford said.
Visitors will notice the difference right when they come in the door, when they'll be greeted by what appear to be the walls of the Emerald City that Dorothy and her friends encounter in the film. Elsewhere, they'll see Dorothy inside her house, a scene from Munchkinland, the floating head of the Wizard and a carriage carrying the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.
And there could be more, by the time the exhibit opens Saturday, Massingill said. The volunteers' work on the scenes have helped it stand apart from all the museum's previous exhibits, he said.
“It's a little different than what we've normally done,” Massingill said. “And I think it's probably been a little more involved than the rest of them.”
Along with all the “Oz” flavor, the museum will celebrate Kansas' 150th birthday by displaying information on the state's formation, as well as the formation of the city of Leavenworth. And on display will be one-word responses to the question “What do you love about Kansas?” that the museum has collected from nearly 1,000 visitors throughout the year. Among the words: “Everything,” “Sunflowers,” Centered,” “Basehor” and “Humidity.”
Third-graders from Basehor Intermediate School have also chipped in, with birthday cards for Kansas that they decorated earlier this year.
The “Oz” theme just seemed like a good way to celebrate the state's birthday in a fun way, Crawford said.
“It just all kind of goes hand in hand,” she said.
The museum's Christmas open house, which includes a visit from Santa Claus, will be Saturday, Dec. 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Santa will appear from 1 to 3 p.m., and this year he'll be joined by a live Dorothy, as well as her dog Toto.
In addition to the open house, the exhibit will be on display through Jan. 1 during the museum's regular hours: 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. The museum is located at 2812 N. 155th St. in Basehor.