Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I've been home almost a week and what was I most excited to do?

(After uh seeing friends and family)

The Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Naturally!

Obviously, I am a big Potter fan. You've been warned: it gets extremely geeky from here...

(at the Réliques de la mort party in Paris)

I worked the official release party of the final book in French. I made the trip to New York to see the original Beedle the Bard on display at the NYPL. I did the usual midnight showing thing with each movie and the last 3 or 4 books.

But this exhibit? Was exceptionally cool. I expected some interesting props and maybe some detailed books that I'd read about. For example, the production team spent months dredging up Medieval fonts to make the Daily Prophet and various textbooks for the movies-- but this was the motherload!

First sight: the Flying Ford Anglia


We got to the exhibit and there was a dude with a fake British accent offering to Sort us. Yes please. I got into Gryffindor, along with two other friends. My third friend got sent to Hufflepuff, but it's probably because she gave him attitude about the Sorting Hat song.

When you get into the actual exhibit, there's a wall full of portraits. Some of them are on LCD screens which move. Then it's like the Promiseland...

I saw (including, but not limited to)
-Harry's glasses
-costumes from all five movies-- everything from robes of the trio to The Goblet of Fire dress robes, the Bloody Baron's gorgeous suit, Voldemort's dress thing, Slughorn and Snape's robes...
-the Gryffindor common room bulletin board, complete with hand-drawn notices
-Triwizard Cup
-the slip of paper labeled "Harry Potter" for the Goblet
-Ron's trunk with Chudley Cannons gear and Mrs. Weasley's sweaters
-dorm beds
-Potions props (like the bezoar box and random pickled objects)
-Honeydukes display (with all the packaged candy and tiny little pink and white striped bags with the gold embossed Honeydukes logo)
-Fake food and table settings from the Yule Ball
-the Gold Egg from The Goblet of Fire
-the Marauder's Map (!! Sooo detailed)
-Mandrakes, Fawkes, Buckbeak, Kreacher
-Sports gear (like everything from brooms to the Quidditch World Cup goggles to Krum's and an Irish player's robes)

And the textbooks. Oh the textbooks!

Most of the books were old-fashioned, even gothic-lettered. However, one of the Potions books was done in '60s Vespa-esque font (like Air Conditioner) with gold lettering and a line-drawn simmering beaker. The Defense Against the Dark Arts text, from Umbridge's reign in the 5th book, was another '60s type, with an illustration of a young witch and wizard. That cover is actually in the film.

I was also so impressed by the Quidditch World Cup "Programme"-- it was a brochure with color blocks and caps hand-drawn letters. Another brochure with bright colors was the O.W.L. study guide. With illustrated buzz words on the front, it folded up in a really interesting, layered stack. The O.W.L. test itself was typeset but each question was kind of scattered randomly on the page. There wasn't any real order.

Umbridge's kitty stationary was there, which I don't remember from the films. Gilderoy Lockhart had a section to himself: I loved the ornate and gothic-lettered quiz he gave on himself for the first DADA class he taught. Each of his books were bound in animal skin and had a black and white glamour shot of him doing something glamorous.

The most interesting details were teeny, like how at the bottom of each Deatheater's "Wanted" poster, there was a line about how it was produced by the Ministry of Magic, England, with a serial number. Each Decree put up by Filch started with a large headline and then narrowed down, line by line, until it got to a minute line with "Blah blah ahblah" typed across the bottom.

All the "official" posters and brochures had a Ministry of Magic or Auror stamp on the bottom. It amazes me that someone went through the trouble of designing a logo to stamp a poster that barely made the film, let alone a closeup of the stamp itself.

There was also cute kiddie stuff, like a row of potted Mandrakes (you could pull them out and hear them scream) and some Quidditch goals with Quaffles to throw. Once again, I was shocked by the detail on the Snitch's wings-- the wings looked like a suit of armor, or the little metal spoke things on an old typewriter.

The end had more portraits (like one of Anne Boleyn, with her "B" necklace changed to "H").

We were all jumping out of our pants for a cool gift shop. I, of course, would have bought every single poster or book reproduction (or, let's face it, I would have stolen everything from the exhibit), plus anything with packaging, like the candy from Honeydukes. Instead, it was a bunch of t-shirts and costumes. There were wand replicas and stuff (and a Marauder's Map! Thumbs up! Oh, it's $50. Nevermind), but it was all a bit silly and expensive. I do plan on getting the official exhibit book when it's available, so I can geek out more on my own.

Whew. I'll be talking about this for months. More of my photos of the Ford Anglia here.

(images from here, here,here, and here)

1 comment:

The Anne Boleyn Files said...

Wow! That sounds brilliant, I'm such a Harry Potter fan and read the books over and over. The potted mandrakes sound great and that Ford Anglia - wow, I'm so jealous!

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