Harry Potter: A History Of Magic/Art Review



In conjunction with the British library this new exhibition celebrates the 20th anniversary of the publication of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”.  Connecting the lavish fantasy world of Harry with the very real world of magic is the mission here.  I declare the curators have succeeded.  With the show split up into all of the different subjects in the fictional Hogwart’s curriculum young and old alike will learn the history behind the objects featured in the books.

Around 160 artifacts are featured.  On display outside the exhibition space are costumes and props from the “Cursed Child” play .  A signed copy of Half-Blood Prince was shipped via Queen Mary in a giant steamer strunk which is also seen with accompanying video of its journey from England to America.  This signifies quite well the odyssey this series is still experiencing.

Fans will love the Potter ephemera here, especially factoids about the books.  My favorite explains how the British publisher Bloomsbury published only 500 copies of the first book as per their policy with children’s books.  As we all know now the Harry Potter series is now the biggest selling children’s lit series in history.  This fact alone merits an exhibit of this kind.

For the little wizards in your family this experience is not hands-on save for one or two touch screen items and a replica statue of a griffin.

Among the artifacts are a fabulous scroll instructing how to create the sorcerer’s stone in seven steps, a real witch’s cauldron and broomstick.  Alchemy, Dark Arts, Astronomy, Herbology, etc. are all represented with their own section.

Mary Dupre’s original art for all of the novels are displayed to great effect.  As well as Jim McKay’s new illustrations for the recently published storybook editions.  Original art, manuscripts, and letters from J.K. Rowling are quite impressive too.  You will see how she mapped out every character to create this entirely new realm of the fantastic.

This leads to the last section that promotes the new film, “Fantastic Beats and the Curse of Grimwald”  along with items from the current play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”.

Parents be forewarned: you exit through the gift shop after passing all the international editions of the books.  Beyond the $21 ticket price are separate programs related to Harry Potter including readings, meet-ups, and classes.

You are strongly advised to purchase timed tickets on the museum’s website.  The link is provided here:  http://www.nyhistory.org.


Harry Potter: A History Of Magic at the New York Historical Society











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