A History of Magic – Exhibit – London


I have been a fan of Harry Potter since the first book was released. When the 20 years Harry Potter celebrations started and I saw this poster of a phoenix, I had to read what the British Library was doing to celebrate one of the now iconic books which have been read by two generations while growing up.  I already found out that the exhibit is about real historic artifacts that are linked to magic but also some artifacts that are linked to the Harry Potter books themselves. I can’t wait to see how the exhibit is set up!

The exhibit was set up like Hogwarts. The different rooms represented the different classes taught at the school.  The collection was made up of Harry Potter related items, items borrowed from different museums that specialize in witchcraft and of items of the vast collection of the British Libary itself. Throughout the exhibit, there were paintings by Jim Kay, he has up til now illustrated the three first books and has kept true to the description of people and items. He has made some very pretty paintings.

The different rooms were:

  • The journey where we started and have a film of J.K. Rowling telling how she came up with the story to start with. From the ceiling, books were suspended and they seemed to be flying.
  • Potions with an interactive potion making game and books talking about several historical potions. In the middle of the room, there is an old cauldron.
  • Alchemy has one of the items I really wanted to see, the scroll how to make a philosopher’s stone.  This artifact is the real deal, well I don’t know if you actually can make one if you follow the steps but hey we can dream.
  • Herbology had books about plants and some very beautiful old ones. In the middle of the room were some planting pots and when you picked them up you heard Stephen Fry reading the passage from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone about Herbology
  • Charms had a few Quidditch items as most of them have been charmed. Beside this, there was an at first seeming empty box but this contained the invisibility cloak.
  • Astronomy was set up as the tower in Hogwarts with veils from the ceiling. It also contained a humongous globe with the different zodiac signs
  • Divination was hulled in a red glow. Divination has been part of our history for ages, how long have you known about palm readers and fortune tellers.
  • Defense against the dark arts contained a few amulet and charms against spells.
  • Care of Magical Creatures maybe contained a few of the coolest items like the mermaid monkey.
  • The last room was Past, Present, Future and was about J.Ks books and all the translations that exist. What holds the future of the story? We know now about the cursed child and the fantastic beasts stories. The magical world still has tales to tell.

It’s very nice to see that the story is being kept alive by fans. Knowing we went in the last days the exhibit was visitable, it was still packed by many people. Although it wasn’t the biggest item collection, it was still worth the visit


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