The land of Oz in Monroe

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-110615334830655.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘The witch’s hourglass from The Wizard of Oz.’);

During the month of January, the Monroe Arts Center will display a wide variety of unique items all relating to the Wizard of Oz, all from the collection of Monroe resident David Kempel. Movie posters, photographs, Christmas ornaments, figurines, a full-scale replica of the Wicked Witch’s infamous hourglass, and numerous other collectible items will be on exhibit through Jan. 29.

In 1989, Kempel began collecting Wizard of Oz memorabilia. That year marked the 50th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz movie. Kempel explains: “At that time, a big explosion of collector’s items were made available and put on the market. The first Oz items I acquired were a set of eight plates depicting some of my favorite scenes from the movie. That’s really what started it all for me.” What began as a small collection initially housed in a curio cabinet in Kempel’s livingroom has now grown into a collection of more than 3,000 various Oz items.

David is thrilled to be able to share his collection with fellow Oz fans. “I am always excited to take out some of these items that have been in storage. With so many pieces in my collection, I’m unable to have my complete collection displayed in the Oz room. It’s great to be able to take some of these pieces and get them ready to display once again,” David commented. Twice his collection has been on the Monroe Tour of Homes.

This exhibit, which is free and open to the public, has been made possible through the generous support of Duxstad, Vale and Bestul, S.C. Frehner Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For additional information, contact the Monroe Arts Center at 608/325-5700 or online at

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