Wonderful World of Oz

An exhibit of memorabilia and merchandise inspired by the Frank Baum classic "Wonderful World of Oz" aims at creating a miniature magical kingdom. In a community theateresque experience, you will literally follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City exhibit. Here, the man behind the curtain is executive director Joe Gillie, who designed and painted the theater-style sets and backdrops. In one room, the walls hold tall panels painted with fields of poppies. A house in the far corner sits atop the remains of the Wicked Witch of the East (striped stockings, ruby slippers, and all), and memorabilia sits upon flower-shaped pedestals behind a white picket fence. Both an art and a cultural museum, the Cornell seems proud that Oz launched the cultural phenomenon that is now the cult of merchandising. Of three rooms, two are full of dolls, action figures, pillows, T-shirts, posters, and other collectibles. In these rooms, the real gems are the literary excerpts that remind us why the book is a classic and the movie has become iconic. Some items are protected under plexiglass, but many are just set out where kids (and other id-driven individuals) can easily get their hands on them (let's hope their faith in people is rewarded). Upstairs, in the third room, photographs offer a behind-the-scenes look at casting and costume development, share images from deleted scenes, and document historic moments. Many informational placards also offer facts that could help you win your pink pie piece in that holiday game of Trivial Pursuit. (Through January 20 at Cornell Museum, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-243-7922.)

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Marya Summers