Frances “Baby” Gumm: An Interview with the Director of the Judy Garland Museum

The Gumm Sisters, Baby Frances Gumm, later Judy Garland, is about two and half years old in this photo. –courtesy of the Judy Garland Museum

Courtesy of the Judy Garland Museum

To celebrate the publication of Finding Dorothy in paperback (Tuesday, December 3rd) I’ve done a series of interviews of people and places related to Oz that I will be sharing over the next few weeks. I hope you will find these people and stories as interesting as I did.

So, today, I’m pleased to introduce Sheena Richards, Administrative Director of the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN, birthplace of Baby Frances Gumm, otherwise known as Judy Garland.

Hi Sheena, thank you so much for joining me today. I’m excited to learn more about the Judy Garland Museum. To start out, your museum is located in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. What is the connection between your location and Judy Garland?

Judy Garland was born in Grand Rapids Minnesota. It was opened to pay homage, as well as to teach people about one of the greatest entertainers of all time. 

Can you tell me a little bit about your museum?

If you come for a visit, you will see that Judy’s house has been restored to look as it did when she lived there in the early 1920’s. The wallpaper has been specially made to match the photographs in our collection of the house at that time. 

What are some comments you hear from visitors to your museum?

Some of the most commonly heard comments are people are amazed at how many movies and concerts Judy had done in her short life span, also many are shocked at the amount of respect and admiration Judy had for our Troops and how often she tried to perform for them or write them. 

What do you think are the most interesting or popular artifacts in your collection?

One of my personal favorites is the carriage from the Wizard of Oz, that was first used in Abraham Lincoln’s private fleet.


We also have many original artworks of Judy including an original Andy Warhol.

I understand that a pair of Ruby Slippers stolen from your museum have been recovered. Do you have them back on display?

Sadly, the Ruby Slippers are still in Evidence with the FBI.

Have you seen the movie, Judy yet? What did you think of it?

Even more Sadly, I have not gotten to see Judy yet! Our movie Theater is under construction, and I just haven’t had time to drive anywhere else to see it! 

Judy Garland died fifty years ago this year. Do you still find people are interested in her?

Absolutely! We get about 25,000 – 30,000 Visitors annually from all over the world. Judy is not just an Icon in the U.S.A. but around the world. 

To Find out more about The Judy Garland Museum or to plan a visit, you can visit their website:

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