Afterwards, Ripa and his colleague put on gloves to inspect the dress, took some pictures and then went to the archives. “I called one of our faculty members and former chair, who always told me the dress existed and that it was in the building to let her know that I had found it,” he continued. “Needless to say, I have found many interesting things in the Hartke during my time at CUA, but I think this one takes the cake.”
According to CUA, it’s working to obtain additional documentation to prove the dress’ authenticity. So, it contacted curators Ryan Lintelman, Dawn Wallace and Sunae Park. They work at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where Dorothy’s ruby red slippers and more memorabilia reside.
While the museum’s curators do not offer monetary evaluations of historical objects, they did offer some insights on the costume. For starters, Lintelman told Smithsonian Magazine there are five other dresses “that have a good claim” on being authentic. The newly discovered dress, the publication continued, has several characteristics these costumes share, including a “secret pocket” where Garland kept her handkerchief and the name “Judy Garland” written by hand on the piece.
Per CUA, it now plans to preserve the dress in “proper storage in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment.”