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Exhibition

Exhibition

Harry Potter: The Exhibition is an international traveling exhibition that features hundreds of authentic props, costumes, artifacts, and set dressings from the films. It was created for guests of all ages, and the average ticket price is approximately $25. It is 10,000 to 14,000 square feet depending on the host venue. Global Experience Specialists, a leading exhibition and events company, created the exhibition. Warner Bros. Consumer Products spent three years selecting the items to be displayed. After Deathly Hallows – Part 2 finished filming, items from that film were added to the exhibition. It is designed to immerse guests using as many sensory experiences as possible. There is also, of course, a gift shop to buy official Harry Potter merchandise. No photography is allowed in the exhibition and an optional audio tour is available. You can visit the official site here.
 

Latest News

Latest News

  • UPDATED: Harry Potter: The Exhibition coming to Paris, France! - UPDATED: Harry Potter: The Exhibition is coming to Paris, France, in the spring of 2015!
  • Harry Potter: The Exhibition opens this week in Cologne, Germany! - Harry Potter: The Exhibition features props, costumes, sets, and other behind-the-scenes items from the "Harry Potter" films, and it is a wonderful experience for any "Potter" fan. Since its 2009 debut in Chicago, the Exhibition has traveled not only around the United States but also internationally, to Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Sweden, and will premiere this week to German fans at the Odysseum Adventure Museum in Cologne.
More Exhibition News

General Summary of Exhibition

General Summary of Exhibition

The exhibition starts with the sorting of three members from the tour group, where the Sorting Hat is placed on their head and tells them their house. Then visitors watch a short film about the exhibition and the Harry Potter fandom. Then you move to a room with multiple portraits on the wall that move and talk like at Hogwarts. The following room is similar to the Gryffindor common room with props such as the Golden Egg, glasses, beds, and the boys’ school robes and Muggle clothes. The next room leads to the classrooms of Hogwarts. Two large sections are Slughorn’s Potions classroom with many potions ingredients and books, and Lockhart’s classroom with a collection of his books. Both include the professors’ elaborate costumes. Next is Umbridge’s office, which includes Educational Decrees.

The end of the room leads to the outdoor world of Harry Potter. There is a mini-Quidditch set up for people to play with. There is a replica of Buckbeak and the Hungarian Horntail and a version of Hagrid’s Hut. You can sit in Hagrid’s chair, which is one of the few things you are able to touch. You can also re-pot Mandrakes. This leads to a dark room with a Dementor and the robes of Voldemort and the Death Eaters with their masks. Dobby, Kreacher, and petrified student models are also there. The last room is the Great Hall. All of the dress robes and gowns from the Triwizard Tournament champions are there, along with other artifcats from the Yule Ball. There is also a long table with replica food, and a case of games, jokes, and candy from Zonko’s, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and Honeydukes. There are hundreds of other props throughout the exhibition.

So far the exhibition has been hosted in the following locations, in reverse chronological order (first stop is at the bottom). You can also read our staff and fan reports from each location, including our coverage of special events.

Cologne, Germany: October 2014

Cologne, Germany: October 2014

  • Press Release Announcement
  • Fan Report

HARRY POTTER™: THE EXHIBITION TO CAST SPELL OVER GERMANY

WHEN IT PREMIERES AT THE ADVENTURE MUSEUM ODYSSEUM IN COLOGNE

International Touring Exhibition Will Open on October 3rd, 2014

Tickets On-Sale Now at www.rtl.de/tickets April 4, 2014 – COLOGNE, Germany – German Harry Potter™ fans will celebrate this fall as they step into the famous wizard’s magical world when Harry Potter: The Exhibition makes its German premiere. On October 3, 2014, Harry Potter: The Exhibition will open its doors at the science and adventure museum ODYSSEUM in Cologne-Kalk. Tickets are now on sale on www.rtl.de/tickets.

In partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Global Experience Specialists, Inc. (GES) created the 1,400‐ square‐meter traveling exhibition, where visitors are able to enjoy dramatic displays inspired by the Hogwarts™ film sets and see the amazing craftsmanship behind authentic costumes, props and creatures from the films. The exhibition is being presented in Cologne by AWC AG. ODYSSEUM will be the exhibition’s second stop on its European tour following a stop in Norrköping, Sweden, at Nya Parken. Since its highly successful premiere at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in 2009, it has been presented in a variety of major cultural and entertainment institutions and museums in cities around the world including Boston, Toronto, Seattle, New York, Sydney, Singapore and Tokyo.  Karen McTier, Executive Vice President, Domestic Licensing and Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products said,

Harry Potter: The Exhibition has mesmerized audiences worldwide and we are truly excited to bring this immersive experience to Germany. Guests will be captivated by the depth of the collection and we are thrilled to present the Harry Potter experience to even more fans around the world.

After successful stops in the United States, Australia, Asia and Canada, we are very proud to welcome Harry Potter: The Exhibition to the ODYSSEUM. We’re thrilled that we can be a part of the Harry Potter experience, which will make the eyes of young and old fans shine with this fantastic exhibition!

Andreas Waschk, CEO of AWC AG and general manager Science Center Services GmbH expressed.

We are delighted to partner with ODYSSEUM to bring the magic of Harry Potter to Germany,

says Robin Stapley, Vice President, Design and Creative, GES.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition has enjoyed world class recognition at its landmark venues around the world and continues to thrill fans with its thousands of props and costumes.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition will be shown from October 3, 2014 for a limited time at the adventure museum ODYSSEUM in Cologne-Kalk. The exhibition will be open during the ODYSSEUM’s regular opening hours: Mondays to Thursdays from 9 am to 7 pm, Fridays to Sundays, Bank Holidays and School Holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia from 10 am to 8 pm. Timed-entry tickets are required, and the last entry will be 90 minutes before closing of the ODYSSEUM. Tickets to the exhibition are on sale now exclusively at www.rtl.de/tickets. Combination admission for the ODYSSEUM and Harry Potter: The Exhibition is 29, 95 € for adults, 23, 95 € for children (ages 3 to 11) and 99,95 € for families (2 adults and 2 children max.). Audio tours are available, limited to a daily allotment. Advance purchase is strongly recommended.

About the ODYSSEUM

The ODYSSEUM is Germany’s first science-adventure-museum. It is situated in one of Europe’s most densely populated regions, and it encompasses 7,500 square meters of exhibition space. More than 360,000 visitors of all ages experience more than 150 exhibits every year, most of which have been exclusively designed for the ODYSSEUM making it a renowned extracurricular learning location. Hence the ODYSSEUM has been awarded with the prestigious Micheletti Award 2011 as one of the best seven European museums by a committee of international experts. 2013 the ODYSSEUM celebrated its relaunch with new attractions like “The Game”, the “Clever-Labs”, and the “Museum with the MOUSE” in cooperation with the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR).

About AWC AG

Prior to forming Andreas Waschk Consulting in 1989, a specialist project development company for attractions, CEO Andreas Waschk was involved in the music business managing tours for world famous artists such as the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Luciano Pavarotti. Rebranded to AWC AG in 2006, the company is proud to have been involved in a number of diverse and successful projects. These included – amongst others – advising Ripley Entertainment Inc. and Merlin Entertainments on their European development expansion plans, attracting over 1.5 million visitors to the Titanic exhibition in Hamburg, developing one of the most successful German science centers – Odysseum in Cologne – and creating the Berlin visitor attraction The Story of Berlin. With over 20 years of industry knowledge and expertise, a dedicated professional team and a carefully selected and steadily growing network of international venues, AWC AG offers a variety of touring exhibitions products and extensive services all around visitor attractions, including development.

About Global Experience Specialists (GES)

Global Experience Specialists, Inc. (GES), a Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI) company, is a leading marketing agency that produces exhibitions, events, exhibits and retail environments. GES has 61 offices globally including Germany. GES provides a wide range of services, including turnkey official show services, cutting-edge creative and design, marketing and measurement services – all with an unrivaled global reach. GES partners with leading shows and brands, including Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Spring Fair Birmingham, International Woodworking Fair, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE, Bell Helicopter, L’Oreal, and Simon Property Group. GES’ National Servicenter® has been recognized with certification under the J.D. Power and Associates Certified Call Center Program℠ for the past five years, and for the fourth year in a row Ad Age has named GES as one of the “World’s 50 Largest Agency Companies.” For more information visit ges.com.

About Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

Alohomora! – The Harry Potter Exhibition in Cologne

Many fans fervently look forward to the opening of the Harry Potter Exhibition in Cologne, which opens its doors on October 3 and allows its visitors to plunge into the magical world of Harry Potter. But the fans will get their money’s worth: The exhibition displays not only the most important costumes and props of the movies, but is made with a lot of passion and love for details.

On October 1, when the Exhibition was officially opened, Matthew Lewis (who portrayed Neville Longbottom) visited the exhibition and took part in its opening ceremony. Although it was about 4 years ago since the last movie was released, Matthew is still filled with pride when he sees that the Potter mania still lives on.

And the Exhibition is a vital part of this: Fans are not only able to see Harry’s and Ron’s beds of their dormitory, the kitten-plates in Umbridge’s office and the gloomy objects in Snape’s dungeons but many more settings which range from pleasant spaces in the series to more obscure ones. Ordered by the different settings of the movies, each of these is equipped with a range of special props from the Leavesden Studios to evoke the feeling these settings used to create in the movies. Some of their items are more obviously connected to the films, while others like Neville’s dancing shoes are more indirectly present while watching. But which nonetheless caused Matthew to remember: “I can’t dance, I’m a terrible dancer”, despite he managed to dance a tango in the end, which to his sadness never made it into The Goblet of Fire. Apart from this, fans can have a look at Harry’s famous glasses, a replica of the Hungarian Horntail lurking in a transport box and the masks of the Death Eaters that were used to disguise themselves, to name but a few of the large number of props.

However, before the actual exhibition starts every witch and wizard (or those who would like to become one) have the chance to take a photo in front of a green screen to be transferred into various settings of the Potterverse. Then, the exhibition begins with a Sorting Ceremony in which a few volunteers are sorted into the four houses of Hogwarts, followed by a “screen show”, in which various moments of the movies are reinvigorated and the Hogwarts atmosphere is completed. Greeted by the steam of the Hogwarts Express and the terrible singing of the Fat Lady, the adventure begins: In the course of the audio-guided tour, the Muggles come across the picture of Gilderoy Lockhart and walk through Hagrid’s Hut and may even have a seat in his gigantic armchair. Children can feature activities, such as throwing a Quaffle through the three Quidditch goals or try to draw out one of the squeaky mandrakes. But the most important setting is yet to come: the Great Hall is filled with several costumes and animals, displays some of Fred and George Weasley’s sweets and shows the decorations that were used for the Yule Ball – all with an amazing love for detail that makes the whole world appear even more real.

At the end, when the actual exhibition is finished the heart of each fan will be filled with the opportunity to buy Harry Potter merchandise in the fan shop, which ranges from cups to t-shirts, pygmy puffs and wands and much more to become the ultimate Harry Potter fan.

Luckily a “Chosen One”

When I had the unique opportunity to walk through the exhibition for the first time, the first moments and impressions enhanced through the music and the atmosphere were so intense that I felt as if I made a travel in time – back to the moment when I began to grew up along with Harry, Ron and Hermione and the time when I saw The Philosopher’s Stone for the very first time. In particular the elaborate details, which only serve as the “background” in the movies, caught my full attention. Likewise the costly hand-made costumes and all other replica made the visit at the exhibition a unique and special experience. Although only a part of what can be seen at the Leavesden Studios is displayed, the selection of these items is very well chosen. They are completed by the audio-guide in which costume designers and many others explain how they created the marvellous items that are right in front of the viewer. For instance, no one might have expected how many problems the prop designers had to face when they had to create a crystal ball that does not break when Hermione pushes it from the table in The Prisoner of Azkaban.

All in all, the exhibition is not only highly recommendable for fans of Rowlings Harry Potter series, but also for all Muggles out there who would like to be drawn into the mysterious but wonderful world of Harry Potter. The view on the props and costumes is not only amazing but also breath-taking and connected with intense emotions and feelings the films created. I’m pretty sure that the Harry Potter Exhibition will be a huge success – which serves it more than right!

Did you know that the Marauder’s Map holds a misspelling and was nonetheless used throughout the series? Now if you would like to have a closer look at this curious prop the exhibition waits in Cologne until the end of February 2015.

 

 

About me: My name is Denise Burkhard, I’m one of the founders of the Harry Potter Society at Bonn University and sharing its presidentship.

 

Norrköping, Sweden: May 2014 – September 2014

Norrköping, Sweden: May 2014 – September 2014

  • Press Release
  • Fan Report – Clara

This will mark the 11th stop for Harry Potter: The Exhibition International tour but will be the first stop in Europe.

Experience the World of Harry Potter!

From the moment you enter Harry Potter: The Exhibition you are immediately immersed in the world of Harry Potter. Guests are greeted by an exhibit host who sorts several lucky fans into Hogwarts™ houses, then leads them inside the exhibition where their journey begins. The exhibition features settings from the films’ most popular locations — including the Gryffindor™ common room and dormitory, classrooms like Potions and Herbology and the Forbidden Forest—which are filled with hundreds of authentic props, costumes, and creatures used in the filming of the iconic series. In addition to the beautiful environments and displays, the exhibition features several interactive elements. Guests can enter the Quidditch™ area and toss a Quaffle, pull their own Mandrake in the Herbology classroom vignette, and even tour a re-creation of Hagrid’s hut and sit in his giant-sized armchair. The exhibition opens at Nya Parken in Norrköping in May 2014 and will remain on display through September 2014. Early reservation tickets will be available beginning November 11, 2013 online at www.harrypotterexhibition.se. Karen McTier, Executive Vice President, Domestic Licensing and Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products stated:

In its 5-year run, Harry Potter: The Exhibition has been experienced by millions around the world and we are thrilled to extend the tour to Sweden, offering fans in Europe the opportunity to experience all of the incredible elements of Harry Potter’s world.

Robin Stapley, VP design and creative, GES added:

We are delighted to extend the exhibition’s tour and bring it to Sweden. Harry Potter: The Exhibition has excited millions of fans around the globe and we couldn’t be happier to offer fans in Europe the unique opportunity to experience this truly magical exhibition.

Stefan Papangelis, CEO, Experience Norrkoping stated:

We are honored to be the first city in Europe to host this stunning exhibition. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome all Harry Potter fans to Norrkoping next summer.

GES is partnering with Experience Norrkoping to bring this exhibition to Harry Potter fans in Sweden. In collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, GES created the 15,000 square-foot (1,400 square-meter) experiential exhibition, where visitors are able to enjoy dramatic displays inspired by the Hogwarts™ film sets and see the amazing craftsmanship behind authentic costumes, props and creatures from the films.

Fan report of the Harry Potter exhibition in Norrköping, Sweden by Clara Ingner

The Harry Potter exhibition is a magical gift to any so called potterhead out there but also a fantastic world to experience for anyone. I have friends who’ve visited the exhibition on other places in the world and gushed about how amazing it was so I have to say that my expectations were very high. Yet I was blown away by the amazing way the whole exhibition was built up. Sadly I didn’t get to experience the exhibition in its whole since we were on a tight schedule, so I didn’t have time to stop and read and look into detail on everything, but I still thought it was amazing and I hope to visit again someday and take my time in there.

We started by going into a room where we received by the very gleeful Anna who’s assignment it was to sort some of us hoping it would take me to Hogwarts. But I didn’t want to miss the rest of the exhibit, so I quickly turned to follow the guide. We were asked to turn off our cameras when walking into a beautiful corridor decorated with painting, some moving of course and others probably asleep.

After passing by set up rooms like the boys dorm where we took part of Ron and Harry’s possessions in such detail that we never really notice in the films, and offices of Umbridge, Lupin (have to say that the clown shown in Professor Lupin’s aisle was very scary and creepy, especially since I have a phobia for clowns), Slughorn and Lockhart we even got to participate in the exhibit on some parts. By professor Sprout’s aisle we got to try pulling up a mandrake and hear the close to fatal cry they give away. In the Quidditch room, as I like to call it, we see the different player uniforms worn by each house and also the characters Oliver Wood, Draco Malfoy and Cedric Diggory. It also had all the different equipment like wooden bats, Brooms and the quaffle, bludgers and golden snitch.

Then we came to what was possibly my favourite part of the Exhibition: Hagrid’s Cabin. In here we could take part of how Hagrid lived and really see for ourselves how big he actually is, both from his Costume but also from sitting in his huge armchair. The forbidden forest was both very realistic in terms of the interior but also the smell of moss that they had managed to create, making us feel like we were outside. In the forest we saw Centaurs and one of Aragog’s babies (which is bigger than you think, or that I thought at least) and last but probably the best, the head of the Hungarian horntail, sticking out from its cage.

So many things to see is really worth taking time to go through, I noticed this when we came to the room which contained the horcruxes and deatheater attributes. This is a room we sadly didn’t stay too long in, but I did see the incredible dementor in its chilling glory as well as the deatheater masks and robes.

The great hall was breathtaking and contained props from all the movies which makes you understand what a role this hall has played in the story. Ballroom for the yuleball, the battle of Hogwarts and just such things like feast food.

All together it is a thrilling and magical experience which takes you through all the elements of the books and movies and I think everyone that has the chance should go and visit the exhibition. The exhibit is open in Norrköping, Sweden till September, so you have all summer!

Also I got to meet with James and Oliver Phelps who play Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, they were very nice lads and answered all the questions naturally and with very giving answers.

Edmonton, Canada: November 23, 2013 – March 9, 2014

Edmonton, Canada: November 23, 2013 – March 9, 2014

  • General Information
  • Press Report – Jacquelyn Eden

Edmonton is the tenth stop for the exhibition which is concluding its global five-year tour. Harry Potter: The Exhibition debuted in Chicago in 2009 and has since been touring the world with most recent stops in Tokyo, New York, and Singapore. The exhibition has expanded in recent years to include artifacts from all eight Harry Potter films. George Smith, President & CEO, TELUS World of Science – Edmonton stated,

Harry Potter has enthralled fans worldwide as it stimulates their creativity and imaginations. Bringing Harry Potter: The Exhibition to Edmonton is exciting. Providing world-class entertainment to the people of Edmonton and Alberta is essential as our community continues to grow and attract people from around the globe. This exhibition provides access to some of the most iconic items used in the films, so to have it in Edmonton is really a point of pride.

Review written by Jacquelyn Eden November 21, 2013

Harry Potter: The Exhibition is an event not to be missed by any Potter fans. This is coming from skeptic. Sure, I wanted to see the props, but how great could it really be? What would there be for a fan who already knew so much about the series? Edmonton Exhibition - sortingThe tour at the TELUS World of Science started out with a sorting ceremony. A few lucky fans chosen from the group are asked to sit on a stool and try on the hat that sees all that is in your head. Of course, I was sorted into Slytherin. There was never any doubt! Once you have received your house, you’re led into a dark room, with movie posters from all eight movies hung. A video starts, and while it had the potential to be cheesy, instead of eye rolling, it induces shivers down my spine. Edmonton Exhibition - FawkesWithin a few second of the video ending, a door opens and a prefect ushers you through, and the tour begins.Edmonton Exhibition - Cho Chang

We were given audio guides, and like I said, I was skeptical. I worried that I would be distracted if I listened, and what could it really tell me that I didn’t already know? Instead, I became addicted. Although there were some that were already common knowledge, there was many interesting facts about the props, how they were made, and their inspiration behind them. I particularly loved hearing about the costumes and how their iconic clothing came to be. Instead of being distracting, the audio tracks were short enough that you could listen while taking in a display and still have time to admire all the intricate detailing that the props held. Soon, it became a search for the plaque cards that held the corresponding numbers to the audio guides. Edmonton Exhibition - Triwizard Cup

One of my favorite parts of the exhibition was when you entered the Forbidden Forest area. In an effort to submerse you in the whole experience, this areas atmosphere is set by what I know is a scented fog machine. It smells damp and earthy, and combined with lighting and sound effects, it truly felt like you were entering a forest. The detailing on the Death Eater costumes is truly to be admired. On one of Lucius Malfoy’s ensembles, you can see snakes everywhere, but done so subtly, you almost can’t see them at all. Snake embroidering on one garment, snake skin on another. The Death Eater masks were simply breathtaking. Edmonton Exhibition - wall

Of all the classrooms, the Potions room is the one to see, if you can only see one. There were countless jars filled with various ingredients; from dried products and suspicious liquids to what appears to be an entire lizard, there were a million things to see, and I could have spent significantly more time gazing at the infamous robes of Severus Snape.

When you enter into the final room of the exhibition, you’re greeted by educational decrees. Without giving too much away, spend some time reading these. Even the small print; heck, especially the small print.

The Great Hall contained even more costumes, Weasley merchandise, and fake food that looked so realistic and delicious it made my stomach growl. Here you find fan favorite, Dobby, peering out from a set of robes. Edmonton Exhibition - wands

Being in the gift shop was extremely disappointing, for one reason: the tour was done. Standing looking at the wands and other merchandise, I kept remarking how I wish I would go back and live there. I mean, there’s already a bed in the dormitory. No one will mind, right?

There was an interview to get to though, so I pulled myself away and went to meet and interview the Phelps twins. On the way to the interview, we were shown one of the giant chess pieces from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was explained that there wasn’t enough space in the actual exhibit, and so a few larger items were placed in different locations. In addition to the chess piece in the lobby of the TELUS World of Science, the knight Ron rode in Philosopher’s Stone is located just past security in the Edmonton International Airport, and the Ford Anglia is at Kingsway Mall, where you can also purchase tickets to the Exhibition. Edmonton Exhibition - dress

James and Oliver Phelps were funny and charming. They remarked about how cold Edmonton was, and we all felt their pain, since -23 C is hard for locals, let alone those who aren’t used to it! They answered all questions that we had, and even signed our guidebooks and a picture before posing for our own pictures with them. They are in town for the opening weekend, and I was very grateful they could divulge the time to entertain our questions. shoppethumb

Harry Potter: The Exhibition was an incredible and magical experience. I expect to go multiple times throughout its run. Tickets range in price from $20-27 based on age, and for that price, it’s a must see. The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday, November 23, 2013 and runs until March 9, 2014.

Tokyo, Japan: June 22, 2013 – September 16, 2013

Tokyo, Japan: June 22, 2013 – September 16, 2013

  • Press Report – Jay Mohri (English)
  • Press Report – Jay Mohri (Japanese)

tokyo-exhibition

Harry Potter: The Exhibition in Japan by Jay Mohri Experienced: early visit, walkthrough with the creators and fan preview June 20, 2013

First of all, I’d like to thank MuggleNet for letting me cover this event. It was an amazing day for me and I hope this report will inform people of how incredible this exhibition truly is.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition was an amazing work of art. Now, some of you may have already read about the countless beautiful props, costumes and artifacts on display at the exhibition and yes, they are unquestionably fascinating, but after spending a day listening to the creators and watching them work, I was able to see how much effort they put into this fantastic exhibition and was constantly amazed by the way the exhibition itself was presented to the audience.

One of the key features of this exhibition is the fact that, unlike most exhibitions where you use just your sight to gain information, Harry Potter: The Exhibition is interactive and will draw you into the world of Harry Potter with its unique ways of conveying information. Another thing I would like to note is how the exhibition follows a certain storyline. During the walkthrough, Mr. Newquist explained to us that the exhibition is meant to feel like you are experiencing life as a Hogwarts student.

Mori Art Museum, located in Tokyo, was just a ten-minute jog away from Roppongi station. This was my first time attending an event as a reporter and being a mere student, I was a bit nervous as I waited near the reception desk. I was soon invited to the photo room where they handed me a Gryffindor scarf and told me to stand in front of the green screen. After that, the Harry Potter theme song started playing and a lady from Warner Brothers came and joined me, which was a relief because up until that point I was the only non-staff member in the room. We then started to chat with one of the photographers working as a staff and while I never got to ask his name, I thought I was definitely going to mention him in this report since he was really nice to us. When I asked how different the exhibition at Mori Art Museum was going to be from when they were at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, he explained to us in detail about the differences between Mori Arts Museum and other museums they’ve been to in the past five years. We waited for a while in the room until a staff member came to tell us that we are going to be the only ones in the walkthrough tour since the others did not show up. The man then led us up to the 52nd floor, which we somehow got up in under a minute (enchanted elevator perhaps?), and there we met Mr. Newquist and Mr. Phillips from GES. They were extremely kind, treating me like an actual reporter even though I practically messed up from the very beginning, somewhat failing to introduce myself because I was panicking inwardly.

Inside the Exhibition The Sorting

After a brief conversation, we were let into the first room of the exhibition and the moment I stepped into the exhibition, it felt like I was sucked into the world of Harry Potter. In the big black room, the sorting hat was sitting on a stool next to a (staff dressed as a) witch. Since we were the only two guests in the room, we both were able to get sorted by the sorting hat. I told them I wanted to be in Slytherin and the hat sorted me accordingly. The room also had posters from all the movies and a stained glass window was placed behind the sorting hat, making the room look somewhat like the great hall.

Pre-Show Area & Hogwarts Express

After the sorting ceremony, we moved to the next room where they played a short video, which featured highlights from the Harry Potter movies. The reason why they made this video, explained by Mr. Phillips, is because they wanted to give people who aren’t fans a short introduction to the films. He also said that they came up with the edit and worked with the filmmakers and incorporated all the shots they wanted to put in. After the video ended, the Hogwarts Express was revealed and we walked by, amazed by the smoke coming out and the poster of Sirius Black next to it.

Portraits, Gryffindor Common Room & Divination

After walking through a short hall with portraits on the walls (including the fat lady), we reached the Gryffindor common room. Half of the room displayed Harry and Ron’s beds along with their belongings (wands, Ron’s howler, etc) and the other half had props from the common room as well as uniforms. We were then led to the divination display, which interestingly had Harry’s teacup with tealeaves forming the Grim.

Defense Against the Dark Arts & Potions

The next part featured Gilderoy Lockhart, Doroles Umbridge, and Remus Lupin. Mr. Newquist took time explaining Gilderoy Lockhart, telling us a story about a painting they had on the wall. When they were walking through the sets, they found the painting and wanted it but didn’t ask for it since they thought the filmmakers wouldn’t let them have it. I was glad they brought it though, since it really visualizes his narcissism very well. Umbridge and Lupin’s props were very detailed and what was a bit surprising was how scary the jack-in-the-box from the Boggart scene was, especially the teeth. The potions display, which was right next to Remus Lupin’s, consisted of Severus Snape and Horace Slughorn’s costumes and potions-related props. Mr. Newquist told us that all the jars and elements are from the actual set and when they started shipping them internationally, they started getting questions about the contents and had to check them.

Quidditch & Hagrid’s Hut

The Quidditch scene was one of the most fun and interactive displays in the exhibition. As imagined, Quidditch uniforms and brooms were on display but what stood out the most was the toss-the-Quaffle game. We both got to shoot a couple of times and I was surprised by the fact that they put a motion detector on the goals so every time the Quaffle goes in, a sound goes off and it makes the game more realistic. After having fun at the Quidditch scene we moved on to Hagrid’s Hut where an animatronic Buckbeak was standing outside and Mr. Newquist explained that they used real feathers for his skin and this Buckbeak was used on set (they later on replaced him with computer graphics). An exact duplicate of Hagrid’s armchair was on display inside the hut and we got to sit in it (it was humongous).

Herbology & the Forbidden Forest

The interactive side of the exhibition appeared once again at the herbology scene. There we got to pull out mandrakes out of their pots and one of them had a very high-pitched voice, which actually made me want earplugs. Up to this point, everything was quite jolly and cozy but when we walked towards the forbidden forest, we knew the next scene was going to be dark. How did we know? Everything was becoming dark. We were also able to tell we were heading towards the forest because we actually smelled the forest. Mr. Newquist explained to us that scents were used for the scene. The forbidden forest had everything dark, mostly Death-Eater related props including Voldemort’s Horcruxes. We were told that for the first time in Asia, they gathered all the Horcruxes in the same exhibition.

The Great Hall & Shop

We were told that the doors used for this scene were molded from the original doors. The Yule Ball costumes were displayed on the right and on the left were Fred and George Weasley’s costumes along with candy and goods from Zonko’s. This was the last display in the exhibition and we were led out of the exhibiton through a black curtain. After being told I could look around on my own for a while (the Warner Brothers lady left so I had the exhibition all to myself for a while), I decided to check out the shop. The only thing in the store that is limited to the Tokyo exhibition was the pamphlet written in English. Still, the goods they had were interesting. The store was apparently still waiting for orders so it was still lacking certain T-shirt sizes and whatnot, but overall it was a good lineup. I left the exhibition after that for a while, killing time until the fan preview started.

Fan Preview

I went back to the museum an hour before the fan preview was starting and there was already a long line of Potterheads. Most of them were there in regular clothes but some of them were wearing costumes and carrying interesting handmade Potter items. While we were waiting for the door to open, one man dressed as Harry Potter, lit a book inside the building and surprised everybody, including the staff (but not in a good way). I was lucky enough to interview a couple of fans while we were waiting and felt Mr. Newquist’s idea to make the exhibition interactive was a great choice. Ms. Chizuko Fukuyama, a well-dressed witch who was waiting in line amongst us Muggles, told us that she was very much looking forward to the interactive aspect of the exhibition. This exhibition will no doubt be an amazing experience for Potterheads living in Japan and I really do hope people will come to experience this exhibition. There is no denying the incredibly creative aspect that GES brought in and their work combined with the extremely well crafted props of the Harry Potter films will surely be highly enjoyable.

 

ハリーポッター展 執筆者:Jay Mohri 内容:先行訪問、製作責任者とのツアー、ファン内覧会 2013年6月20日

ハリーポッター展を見て私が感じたのは、この展示会は紛れも無い芸術作品だという事でした。 既に展示品である小道具、大道具や衣装などの素晴らしさについて知っている方も多くいらっしゃると思いますが、私は製作者の方々と共に一日を過ごし働いている姿を見て、彼らのハリーポッター展に対する強い想いを感じ取る事ができ、幾度となく展示品の見せ方についての細かい工夫に気づかされました。 この展示会の特徴として一つ挙げられるのは、視覚のみで情報を得られる多くの展示会と違い、体験する事を重視した作りになっていて多角的に情報を伝達し来場者の方々をハリーポッターの世界へと誘う仕掛けになっているという事です。 そしてもう一つ、ポッタリアンの皆様に注目して頂きたい事があります。ハリーポッター展には展示自体にストーリー性があるのです。ツアー中、製作責任者であるNewquistさんが私達に繰り返し仰っていたのは、ハリーポッター展は来場者の方々にホグワーツでの学生生活を体験してみて欲しいという願いをこめた作りとなっているという事です。 先行訪問 会場である森美術館は東京に位置し、六本木駅からジョギングで10分程の所にありました。 今回私はレポーターとして働くのは初めてで、まだ学生でもある私は「リタ・スキーターの様なジャーナリストには一生なれないな」などど考えながら緊張を抑えきれないまま受付で呼ばれるのを待っていました。 程なくして写真室へ呼ばれ、待機後に写真撮影という事でスリザリン好きなのにも関わらずその場の空気に負けグリフィンドールのマフラーを巻き、グリーンスクリーンの前で撮影をしました。 ワーナーブラザーズの方も入室され、カメラマンの方に少しお話を聞かせて頂く事ができました。 私が今回の展示会とシンガポールのMarina Bay Sandsでの展示で違う事があるか尋ねた時、彼は森美術館とMarina Bay Sandsだけでなく他の会場との差についても私に細かく説明をしてくださり、残念ながらお名前を伺う事できなかったのですが、私は去り際に絶対にこの優しいスタッフさんの事をレポートの中に組み込もうと心の中で誓いました。(苦笑) 部屋を出た後52階までエスカレーターで誘導され(1分未満で3階からたどり着いたのはきっと魔法がかかったエレベーターだったからでしょう)、会場前で今回の展示会の製作を担当されたGESのNewquistさんとPhillipsさんに会いました。お二方ともとても親切で、緊張で発狂しそうな自分が滅茶苦茶な自己紹介をしたのにも関わらず優しく接して頂けました。 展示会場内 組み分け 暫くして私達は展示会の最初の部屋へ通され、足を一歩踏み入れた瞬間、まるでハリーポッターの世界に吸い込まれたかの様な感覚に陥りました。暗く広い部屋には、ライトアップされたポスターの他、魔女(の格好をしたスタッフさん)の横に組み分け帽がぽつんと乗った椅子が置いてありました。 ツアーの参加者が私を含め二人だったので、組み分けを体験する事ができ、Newquistさん達に「スリザリンに見えないけど」と疑われるもスリザリンが良いと組み分け帽に言った結果見事スリザリンに入る事ができました。部屋には他にステンドガラスがあり、大広間を思い出させる様な作りになっていました。 プレ・ショーエリアとホグワーツ特急 組み分けが終わった私達は次の部屋へと案内をされ、そこで90秒程のビデオを鑑賞しました。このビデオはこの展示会の為にオリジナルで作ったのかとPhillipsさんに尋ねたところ、ハリーポッターに詳しくない人達の為に映画の紹介として有名な場面をハイライトしたこの動画を映画製作チームと作ったという返答を頂きました。ビデオ終了後ホグワーツ特急と通路が姿を現し、部屋に広がる煙とシリウス・ブラックのポスターに感動しつつ私達は次の場面へと移動をしました。 絵画、グリフィンドール談話室と占い学 絵画(太ったレディの肖像画も含む)が飾られた廊下を抜けるとグリフィンドール談話室へ辿りつきました。部屋の半分はハリーとロンのベッドと持ち物の展示がされており(杖、ロンの吠えメールなど)もう半分は談話室の小道具と制服の展示がありました。談話室の展示の次は占い学の展示があり、興味深いものとして死神犬の形をした茶葉が残っているハリーのティーカップが置いてありました。 闇の魔 術の防衛術と魔法薬 次にたどり着いた場面はロックハート先生、アンブリッジ先生とルーピン先生の展示でした。Newquistさんが皆さんに特に注目して欲しいと仰っていたのはロックハート先生の展示でロックハート先生が生徒に受けさせたテストです。また、巨大なロックハート先生の肖像画に関して面白いお話をして頂けました。展示物をスタジオで選んでいた時に肖像画を見つけ、是非欲しいと思ったものの、これはさすがに貸してもらえないだろうと思い黙っていたらスタジオ側から「これは要らないのか?」と聞かれ、喜んでこの展示に組み込んだとの事でした。ロックハートの見事なナルシストぶりをよく表しているこの肖像画は注目の一品です。 アンブリッジ先生とルーピン先生の小道具はとても凝っており、特に私が驚いたのは展示されていたJack-In-The-Boxの不気味さです。特に歯が怖く、ボガートがこれに変身したら果たして自分はリディキュラス!と叫べるのだろかと考えてしまうような怖さでした。 魔法薬の展示はルーピン先生の真隣りにあり、スネイプ先生とスラグホーン先生の衣装と魔法薬の授業で使う道具などが展示されていました。ここでNewquistさんが私達に語ってくださった面白い裏話がありました。容器とその中身の魔法薬の材料は実際に撮影に使った物で、海外展示の為に運んでいた際に「この中身はなんだ?」と怪しまれた事が何度かあり、自分達で一つ一つ材料の正体を突き止めなければならなくなってしまったという事があったそうです。 クウィディッチとハグリッドの小屋 個人的に私はクィディッチの体験展示が展示会の中で一番面白かったと思います。予想通りクウィディッチのユニフォームや箒の展示があったのですが、クァッフルを投げ入れようゲームという物がひときわ目立っていました。私達は実際にゲームをする事ができたのですが、私がアスリートに見えたのかNewquistさんに3発全部外さずに入れてみてと言われ完全に子供化してゴールにクァッフルを投げ入れスリザリン生として10ポイント頂きました。(笑) 楽しいクィディッチの後に私達はハグリッドの小屋の場面にたどり着き、バックビークに出会いました。Newquistさんによると、このバックビークは実際に撮影に使用したアニマトロニックで、撮影後に映像処理でCG化されたという事でした。小屋の入り口の上にいるカラスを指しPhillipさんに「おや、またカラスが一匹迷い込んだようだよ」と仰っていたNewquestさんを見て、この方の細部へのこだわりは半端が無いなと確信をしました。小屋の中には実際にハグリッドが座っていたアームチェアの複製品があり、座ってみてあまりの大きさに驚きました。 薬草学と禁じられた森 薬草学の場面でも体験型のものが展示されていました。マンドレイクを引っこ抜くというもので、調子に乗って何匹か引っ張っていたらある一匹が衝撃的な程にイラつく音を発し(笑)こんな声だったら耳栓が本当に必要だな〜と納得をしました。意外と重いので、小さいお子様には手助けが必要かもしれません。 ここまでずっと楽しい雰囲気だったのですが、次の場面に進むと同時に何か不気味なものを感じ、禁じられた森が近いんだな〜と察する事ができました。森の匂いも漂い始めていました(Newquistさんによると嗅覚の要素を意識して入れたそうです)。禁じられた森は闇に関わるものが全て集められていて、多くの物はデス・イーター関連のものでした。私達がここで注目して欲しいと言われたのは、デス・イーターのマスクのそれぞれ違う模様、手の混んだベラトリックスの衣装と今回アジア初でそろったヴォルデモート卿の分霊箱の展示でした。ここで私はNewquistさんの分霊箱クイズを征し、またもやスリザリン寮に10点を頂きました。笑 大広間とショップ 大広間の展示のドアは、実際のドアではなかったのですが現物から成型された縮小版という事でなかなかの迫力でした。左側にはYule Ballで使われた衣装や小道具が、そして左側にはフレッドとジョージウィーズリーの衣装とゾンコ製品やお菓子などが展示されていました。正面には死の秘宝が飾られており、Newquistさんによると透明マントは実際にハリー達が羽織った際などに使われていたものだそうです。撮影に使われたドビーや、シリウスとトンクスの衣装なども一緒に展示されていました。最後の展示である血みどろ男爵の衣装とフォークスの間を通ると展示は終わり、コメント/質問タイムが始まりました。最後Phillipsさんに後でグッズを渡すよと言われ、こんなにも色々として頂いて良いのかと衝撃を受けた後、この後展示を自由に見たいか訊かれ、当然の事ながら見たいと答えると音声ガイドを渡され今まで一緒だったワーナーブラザーズの方とお別れをする事となり、Newquistさんと共にまた最初から入り直させて頂きました。暫く二人でお話をさせて頂いた後に展示を独り占めで自由見学し、ものすごく贅沢な時間を過ごさせて頂きました。 この後は日本の記者内覧会が始まる前にショップへと移動し、商品を確認しました。今のところ、日本での展示会限定で販売されているのは日本語の公式パンフレットだけだそうです。中にはまだ商品が届いておらずサイズが無いT シャツなどがあったのですが、商品のラインアップは充実していたと思います。 暫く商品の間を動き回った後、森美術館を離れ、ファン内覧会まで時間を潰す事にしました。 ファン内覧会 ファン内覧会開始1時間前に戻ったのにも関わらず、受付前には既にポッタリアンの方々の列があり、ハリーポッターへの愛はスネイプ先生とリリーの様な強さなのだなと一人で思いほっとして眺めていました。マグルの格好で来た方が多かったですが、ホグワーツの制服やローブに着替えて参加された方もいらっしゃいました。中には手作りのグッズなどを持っていらっしゃった方もおり、特に印象的だったのが52階で並んでいる最中に本にインセンディオと呪文を唱え火をつけたハリーポッターの方でした。笑 列に並んでいる最中何人かのポッタリアンの方々のお話を聞かせて頂き、私はNewquestさんの体験型展示にしようという考えは、やはりとても意味がある事だったのだなと痛感しました。 マグルで溢れ返る列に紛れて並ばれていた素敵な魔女、福山さんにもこのインタビューで一番楽しみにしている事として体験ができる事という回答を頂きました。(ご協力ありがとうございました) この展示会は日本に住むポッタリアンの皆様にとって、素晴らしい体験になる事は間違いないでしょう。ポッタリアンではない方にも美術という面から興味を持って頂きご来場頂ければと切に願います。私達が映画の中で見てきた手の込んだ素晴らしい展示品と、創造性豊かなGES社の製作チームがハリー・ポッター展に吹き込んだ魔法を多くの方に是非体験して頂きたいです。

New York City, NY, USA: November 3, 2012 – April 7, 2013

New York City, NY, USA: November 3, 2012 – April 7, 2013

Hosted at Discovery Times Square, this was the second time the exhibition was housed here.

  • Fan Report – Jessica Jordan
  • Fan Report – Rachel Beard

HPExhibition-NYC-2012-11-02-Tickets HPExhibition-NYC-2012-11-02-JamesPhelps HPExhibition-NYC-2012-11-02-OliverPhelps

Fan Report: James and Oliver Phelps Visit NYC Exhibition By Jessica Jordan

When I arrived at Discovery Times Square shortly before 9 am on Saturday morning, there was already an autograph line forming outside of the Harry Potter Exhibition. As it grew closer to the time of the exhibit’s 10 am opening, the line down 44th street only grew longer. When the exhibit opened its doors, many visitors decided to continue waiting in the autograph line instead of going into the exhibit at their ticketed time, risking having to wait a couple of hours until the next available entry onto the exhibition floor. But for everyone I talked to, it was worth it to be guaranteed a chance to meet James and Oliver Phelps. After waiting outside for over an hour, those of us near the front of the autograph line were moved inside to wait in the lobby—where it was much warmer!—but because of space limitations many fans continued to wait outside. We spent another hour in line inside the building before James and Oliver arrived and began signing autographs in a small room just to the side of where guests visiting the exhibit have their picture taken before entering the exhibition floor. Groups of 12 were led downstairs to meet the twins, and each guest was allowed to have one item signed. Many opted to have the twins sign an exhibition-provided postcard of Fred and George, but others brought Harry Potter books with favorite chapters about the Weasley Twins—I saw more than one copy of Order of the Phoenix—and one creative fan I saw even brought a copy of the Marauder’s Map! When it was finally my turn to meet the twins, both were very kind and appreciative of the fans who had waited so long to see them. The one downside to the way that signing was set up was that you really only got the chance to talk to either James or Oliver, since time was so limited. Still, Discovery Times Square had carefully thought out how to move the crowd through the autographing space, and I didn’t feel too rushed as I moved through the autograph line, actually getting the chance to exchange a few words with each of the twins.

Once I made it through the signing line, I entered into the exhibition with no trouble, even though a couple of members of the group I was in had missed their ticketed time—I had heard from a worker that the exhibition was being more lenient with that today because of the special autographing event. As always, getting to explore the props and costumes of the exhibition was lots of fun, especially since I hadn’t visited the exhibition since they added items from the second half of Deathly Hallows, but it was even more fun to be there after just having just met two of the stars who made the films possible. Clearly many fans felt the same—when I left just after noon, the autograph line was just still all the way down the street.

I attended the Saturday morning #NYSeeingDouble event at Discovery Times Square. My friends and I arrived around 9:40 and ended up waiting outside for a little over 2 hours. It was below freezing and waiting outside like that was only tolerable because of the excitement and the other great fans to pass time with. The Phelps twins arrived right at 11 and it was fun to watch them exit their car, get a quick glance at the masses waiting for them, wave, and then dash inside. Once inside, the line moved relatively quickly and people were ushered into a small room to meet James and Oliver in groups of just a few fans at a time. It made the visit more intimate. We were told that they were not allowed to pose for photos with us, but I introduced myself and shared the fact that I’m a huge fan of the series and that I named my daughter Lily Potter after Harry’s mum. Oliver chatted with me a little bit about that and asked how old my daughter is and if she was reading the books yet (6 and starting Sorcerer’s Stone very soon!). James was very friendly as well. After they finished signing my book, I said “since I’m a big fan and you’re famous for being rule-breakers, can I come back there for a photo?” and they very kindly agreed, as long as we could do it quickly! I ducked back behind the podium and my friend snapped the shot and then we were on our way!

We had purchased the VIP tickets and it was easy to go straight from the signing to the front of the line for the exhibition. We were able to watch a few people get sorted, and my friend Maria achieved her dream of being pronounced a Ravenclaw! After a brief montage of movie scenes in another room, we stepped right in front of the Hogwarts Express and even got snowed on! It was very exciting and you could feel how eager all the fans were, especially after the signing! It was my first time in the exhibit, and with the crowds making our passage slow, I took some extra time for notes on the standout features. We were treated to the singing of the Fat Lady, some artifacts of Gryffindor common room, and Ron and Harry’s sleeping areas first. It was fun to see how Ron had brought so much of his Quidditch gear from home, while Harry had very few personal possessions. Ron’s howler from Chamber of Secrets was tucked away in his trunk and audio tour patrons should know to hold the speaker far from their ear when they listen to track #53 or they will get an earful of Mrs. Weasley’s screaming! We also loved the stars and moons that adorned the inside of the four-poster bed curtains, the authentic wizard candies, and games we spotted. Other fun items we noticed were the grim in the tea leaves at Professor Trelawney’s class, the Half Blood Prince potions book, Lockhart’s ridiculous exam questions, and Harry’s lines of “I must not tell lies,” written in blood! We were not such fans of the gigantic jack-in-the-box boggart or the one thumping around in the wardrobe. Hagrid’s hut was a lot of fun, especially because we were allowed to lift the mandrakes outside the hut and sit in Hagrid’s enormous chair. The true-to-life Buckbeak was amazing looking, too! After Hagrid’s hut, we were able to toss the quaffle and score our first Quidditch goals! The crowd slowed down quite a bit in the Dark Arts area and there was a lot more to listen to on the audio tour. It was a bit too crowded to enjoy, but I did get a good look at the Horcrux display and thought they were all incredible and very authentic looking, especially the diadem!

We ended the tour in the great hall, where we saw remnants of the Yule Ball, the Goblet of Fire, and even Skiving Snackboxes! We passed by Fawkes and though we were sad to leave, we were thoroughly exhausted by the time we emerged from the tour at around 2:00! We picked up some souvenirs in the gift shop, which was comparable to the one in the Orlando airport, but smaller than what can be found at the Universal park, and took a few more photos outside before going on our merry way! It was a great day and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, especially if they brought back any of my other favorite cast members!

Singapore: June 2, 2012 - September 30, 2012

Singapore: June 2, 2012 - September 30, 2012

Hosted at the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands, the Phelps twins were, once again, there to open the exhibition. Below is our coverage from fan Nicolette Mok.

  • Press Report – Nicolette Mok

Opening Review by Nicolette Mok June 2, 2012

A “tribute to artistry and craftsmanship,” “telling the story of human creativity,” in the words of Eddie Newquist (Chief Creative Officer of Global Experience Specialists, Inc.) and Nick Dixon (Executive Director of ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore), Harry Potter: The Exhibition promises to take visitors on an amazing journey as they relive J.K. Rowling’s timeless tale on the Singapore stop of its tour. Boasting artifacts directly from the sets of all eight films, the exhibition’s first Asian stop has something extra in store for fans here — all the Horcruxes have been collected and are on display, with the exception of Harry, of course, as Robin Stapley (Creative Director of Harry Potter: The Exhibition) would have you know. We will get to that later, however, as this reporter here must now bore you a little with details from the Q&A session for the press.

Q&A session

Present for the Q&A session were Newquist, Dixon, Stapley and— you guessed it — James and Oliver Phelps, the wonderful, dashing guys who played the Weasley twins in the films. One can imagine how star-struck this fangirl was, seeing how we almost never get any of the Potter action here in Singapore. There was only a limited amount of time available for questions, but the five men graciously supplied us with as much information as they could. As we soon found out, this exhibition was indeed a “labour of love” with Warner Bros. Studios, who generously gave up the precious original movie artifacts to allow fans the opportunity to experience, first-hand, the exquisite workmanship of the props. The men behind the exhibition, certainly, did what they could to ensure that a wide variety of memorabilia would be available, allowing visitors an altogether more complete journey through Harry’s world. The Phelps twins, too, had nothing but praises for the items on display, speaking of the attention paid to detail in each costume, prop, and set. In particular, they spoke about the Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes’ products, which were realistic packages rather than just empty boxes. These tiny ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’ details are, indeed, the very things that comprise Harry Potter: The Exhibition. Not only is this a journey down memory lane for us fans, it is also an acknowledgment of the ten years worth of tremendous effort poured into the valiant attempt to do justice to J.K. Rowling’s magical prose.

Sorting

It was soon time for us to embark on the guided tour, led by effervescent Newquist and Stapley. We were ushered into a dimly-lit room, where our anticipative silence was broken by the cheery voice of one of the exhibition guides, inviting us to the Sorting Ceremony, but not before issuing a friendly reminder that Muggle communicative devices would not work in the magical arena that we were about to enter. The Sorting Hat proceeded to amuse a few lucky fans by Sorting them into the Houses that they expressed partiality towards.

Hogwarts Express

We were then brought into a pitch-dark room, lit only by eight glowing screens featuring the movie posters. As soon as the doors shut behind us— with a dramatic bang, I must add— soft music began playing. All notions of the outside world were banished from our minds, and we were completely immersed in the world of Harry Potter as Hedwig’s Theme echoed in our ears and clips from the films played on the screens. But of course, we were in for more surprises, when the side of the room lifted suddenly to reveal none other than the actual Hogwarts Express, surrounded majestically by billowing steam, resplendent in its sleek glory. We were on our way to Hogwarts.

Gryffindor Common Room

Our next destination greeted us with a wall adorned with numerous moving portraits, including the Fat Lady. A homely, rounded room dotted with various red and gold memorabilia— it was doubtless that we had entered the Gryffindor common room. What I loved most was a notice-board that featured handwritten memos by students, featuring everything from lost articles to recruitment notices, lending a touch of realism to the room. This is one lovely detail that I definitely did not catch in the films! It is also interesting to note that, according to our guides, this particular notice-board worked two ways, with the other side of it doubling as the blackboard in Professor McGonagall’s classroom.

Gryffindor Boys’ Dormitories

The common room led to the boys’ dormitories, and we were treated to some insight on Harry’s and Ron’s living habits. Both their beds looked rather messy and unmade— I suppose the house-elves hadn’t been there to clean up yet! Ron’s side of the wall was lined with Chudley Cannon posters; while Harry’s trunk lay open at the foot of his bed, displaying items such as the discarded box of spiked chocolates from Romilda Vane, and the Marauders’ Map.

Classrooms

Well-rested from our time in the Gryffindor Tower, it was time for lessons! The next room featured artefacts from all the Hogwarts classes, ranging from textbooks to costumes that the Professors had worn on set. Indeed, the GES team had spent two entire weeks in the Great Hall at Leavesden studios to amass these artefacts for the exhibition. Professor Lockhart’s test papers, wand (the biggest of all the cast, perhaps to match his personality), and lilac stationery were a sight to behold, but even these could not match up to an ornate, life-sized portrait of him that was the centrepiece of his exhibition. The other Defence Against the Dark Arts Professors were also allotted their own display corners, with Remus Lupin’s space dominated by a Boggart rattling about in an old wardrobe, lovingly tarnished by the film crew and vibrating with such intensity that we were almost sure we were about to be confronted by our greatest fears. Umbridge’s ‘office’ was a scene straight from the set, with pink walls, chairs, and even ink. Her pink outfit stood proudly at her desk, with Cornelius Fudge’s smart black robes displayed by hers. Other memorabilia such as quills and parchment littered her desk, and I was particularly impressed by the Ministry of Magic paper airplanes that actually had text on them. This reporter heard the Herbology greenhouses before actually seeing it. A row of Mandrakes formed the main attraction, and wailed ear-splittingly when pulled. We Muggles weren’t provided with any earmuffs, unfortunately, but survived to tell the tale! The mood got palpably darker as we moved on to Professors Snape’s and Slughorn’s domain, the Potions ‘dungeons’. Insidiously colourful fluids were stored in a myriad of oddly-shaped vials and test-tubes. A box of bezoars lay open, while some matter that looked eerily like human flesh stood in large jars. Professor Trelawney’s space, however, was relatively small, with only a few Divination items such as a cup of tea leaves on display. We had barely finished attempting to read the leaves when we were whisked away to the next stop — the Quidditch pitch!

Quidditch

It turned out to be paradise for Quidditch fans, wizard and Muggle alike. The Quidditch robes from the Bulgarian and Irish national teams— as well as Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff ones— were presented proudly among numerous trophies that included, for some reason, a ‘Transfiguration Diploma’. Harry’s and Draco’s Nimbuses were also showcased, though I would have loved to get my hands on a Firebolt. Completing the display case were a chest of Quidditch balls straight from the movie, various Quidditch periodicals, a programme from the 422nd Quidditch World Cup, and a few pairs of what seemed to be Omnioculars. The highlight of the ‘pitch’, however, was the interactive arena where this reporter had way too much fun chucking actual-sized Quaffles through hoops!

Hagrid

After Quiddtich came two entire sections devoted to Hagrid— his pumpkin patch from Prisoner of Azkaban, and this large space that formed a realistic likeness of his plus-sized hut. Costumes that the actors themselves had worn re-enacted the scene of Buckbeak’s supposed execution, with a Macnair figure looming threateningly over the tiny costumes that Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson had donned all those years ago. Buckbeak, the actual one made for the movie, stood proudly in the background, complete with real feathers that were, according to our guides, laboriously inserted by its creators. Hagrid’s hut, on another hand, gave one a real feel of his size; we were invited to sink into his endlessly huge armchair. Other artifacts included his pink umbrella, a copy of the Monster Book of Monsters and Norbert(a)’s egg, which dominated his dining table. Crates and other knick-knacks adorned his walls and ceiling, giving the hut a rather cluttered feel, which, along with a faint strange smell, contributed to the whole experience.

The Forbidden Forest

Over at the Forbidden Forest, the cosy atmosphere had altered drastically, and we practically tiptoed through the seemingly real mist, wary of the creepy creatures that were on display. Regal centaurs, a terrifying Hungarian Horntail, one of Aragog’s descendants, and even a surprisingly adorable baby Thestral were positioned among the Forest’s foliage. However, if I found this rather frightening, then the next section that we entered was positively sinister.

Dark Arts

The ‘Dark’ exhibit comprised mementos from Harry’s many run-ins with Voldemort and other dark forces throughout the story. There was Quirrel’s costume, relics from the Professors’ ‘obstacles’ that protected the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Stone itself from the first film. The second one was represented by the figure of a Petrified Colin Creevey that was used in the film, placed next to Tom Riddle’s Slytherin robes. The Angel of Death statue from the Little Hangleton graveyard in the fourth film was also displayed, along with some grubby Azkaban costumes, and Kreacher. A Dementor’s insubstantial form fluttered menacingly above our heads, causing some of us fainter-hearted ones to jump in fright. Our guides also had us stand in a special spot where, through the aid of impressive sound effects, we heard Voldemort himself whispering in our ears… As if on cue, we gravitated towards the Death Eater exhibit, where Bellatrix’s and Voldemort’s costumes showcased alongside Death Eaters’ masks from the different films, as well as Bellatrix’s dagger from Deathly Hallows, a beautiful but lethal little thing. A Dark Mark, digitised to look like wispy smoke, hovered above the artefacts, intensifying the ominous feel. And, finally, finally, we saw the coveted Horcruxes— available together to the public for the first time ever. The original ring, cup, locket, diary and diadem from the films sat proudly in their display case, basking in all their intricate splendour. Nagini, however, remained faithfully by the side of Voldemort’s costume. Harry, of course, was conspicuously missing.

The Great Hall

We then passed some walls lined with ‘Wanted’ posters featuring Death Eaters, and public notices with safety instructions from Half-Blood Prince, before reaching the sumptuously decorated Great Hall, complete with floating candles! Framed Educational Decrees from Umbridge’s reign at Hogwarts provided some light amusement, while hangings bearing the House colours and symbols lent an aura of grandeur to the Hall. The doors, walls, and panelling all looked pretty authentic, and we were told that moulds had been taken for scale in order to bring fans as close as possible to the original sets. Other artefacts in the Great Hall hardly followed specific themes, and random corners were devoted to relatively small but nevertheless still significant portions of the films. The Triwizard Cup and a copy of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore lay at one side, while Fred’s and George’s Hogwarts robes stood alongside a whole host of deliciously colourful Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes’ products that included apparently genuine Skiving Snackboxes. An elaborate Quidditch board game from the Prisoner of Azkaban film was also featured, along with articles from the Daily Prophet, complete with actual text. Tonks’, Sirius’, Dumbledore’s and McGonagall’s costumes, and the figure that ‘played’ Dobby, were displayed with a small case that contained the Deathly Hallows. Notably, the Resurrection Stone was much smaller than I’d imagined it to be, but it was nevertheless an exquisite piece of craft. The Yule Ball section, decorated opulently, showcased lavish costumes and the ice-sculpture centrepiece used in the fourth film. Then came Gryffindor’s very own hero Neville Longbottom— his costume standing tall next to the sword of Godric Gryffindor, and a fully-grown, magnificent Fawkes in an adjacent case. My favourite part of the Great Hall, though, was none other than the dining area in the middle. Genuine-looking meats, cakes, ice cream and puddings gilded the table, virtually transporting us directly into a real Hogwarts feast. The decadent hues did not stop just there, as bags of Zonko’s and Honeydukes’ products were laid out as well, with jars of sweets, boxes of Fizzing Whizzbees, Chocolate Frogs and the like sorely tempting us.

Souvenir Shop

Soon enough, we were led through a corridor full of portraits applauding us, complete with sound effects. A souvenir shop followed, with exorbitantly-priced Potter memorabilia placed under ‘shop’ headings like ‘Gambol & Japes’ and ‘Borgin and Burkes’, completing the entire experience. It was surely a test of self-control, as this reporter exerted every ounce of discipline not to empty the contents of her wallet for a replica of Sirius Black’s wand! While I did leave the exhibition empty-handed, my mind is definitely still reeling from the incredible journey I had just experienced. Awestruck, and star-struck, too, I thank MuggleNet for allowing me to embark on this nostalgic yet eye-opening excursion, and look to the crew behind the Potter films with renewed respect.

Sydney, Australia: November 19, 2011 – April 9, 2012

Sydney, Australia: November 19, 2011 – April 9, 2012

Hosted at the Powerhouse Museum, James and Oliver Phelps, who portrayed Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter films were at the opening event. Below is a video of a Q&A and an exclusive report from a fan, Jenna.

  • Press Report – Jenna

November 17, 2011

After some confusion as to where the “temporary entrance” to the museum was, I found the main entrance and was told to head up to Level Three. There I found representatives from a few other fansites, such as SnitchSeeker, DanRadcliffe.co.uk, Feltbeats, Magical Menagerie, and the Daily Snitcher. I knew none of them personally, but as with the beauty of Harry Potter fans, we instantly became friends, due to our common love for the boy wizard. We talked for a while, until we were called into a media room downstairs, where we would meet Eddie Newquist, Robin Stapley, James Phelps, and Oliver Phelps. While waiting for James and Oliver to arrive, we had a small chat with Eddie and Robin. We all asked various questions, to which Eddie and Robin gave fairly brief answers, so they could save their full answers for when the twins came in. However, we did find out that the exhibit will be continuing on after Sydney, but they just have not released exactly where. We also discovered that, logistically, it was quite a trek to get all the props down to Australia. This involved 23 ship containers of things, which took 40 days to get from LA down to Australia. They felt lucky to have Warner Bros.’ support for their collection, who where willing to help them in anything they needed. Robin talked of how they used the Great Hall in Leavesden Studios to go through all the props they had to choose from. This was quite a difficult task for them to do, it appears, as there are so many various props, and a lot of care and dedication have been put into making each and every one of them. They were also quite lucky, in that they walked around Leavesden studios, and were asking “Oohh! Can we have that?” to which the producers and directors would mostly say “Yes, of course!” For example, there are many chandeliers found in some of the sets, so you will notice one of them in the exhibit. As well as the common room door to Gryffindor Tower. Here, we are starting to get an idea of the amount of work and dedication put into this exhibit. However, we had no idea before entering, just how much attention to detail was put into not only picking and choosing the props to be used in the exhibit, but also the detail of said props as well. I encourage you to look closely at each and every prop, as they are all so incredibly detailed, that you really do feel as if it is all real. Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself here.

So Eddie and Robin are still answering questions while we wait for the Twins to arrive. We have also found out about how some of the other Harry Potter cast and crew have walked through the exhibit, and have commented that it feels like they are back on the set of the films. Finally, the Twins walked in. The atmosphere of the room changed, as we shivered with excitement. Now the interviewing had REALLY begun. Among other things, we found out: Quidditch: Most of the brooms were the same, except Harry’s, being the Nimbus 2000 or Firebolt. They would make three different types of brooms: a hard one, a soft one, and a foam one, depending on what they were going to use it for. What I also found interesting, is the fact that when you see the students doing Hogwarts’ work in the Great Hall, the actors are actually doing their own school work. We find out that some of the sweets and food we see the on set, were originally real food for the actors to eat, but of course, the food would start to smell, or the young, hungry teenagers would eat all of them! We find out that James broke three of the wands he used, and he was not even given a wand until The Order of The Phoenix! He did a perfect reenactment of sitting on his wand the first time. I think the story of how Fred and George came to be is a tale worth telling: James and Oliver had 6 weeks of auditioning, and then it got time for the read-through [which is when all the cast and producers get together in a large room, and “read through” the whole film in its entirety] and they still had no idea who was who! So they asked the casting director, very politely, “Who are we?” After the initial shock of having two actors not aware of who they were going to play, she then went over to David Heyman [executive producer], Chris Columbus [director] and J.K. Rowling.After a chat, she came back and simply said, “Right, Oliver you’re George, James you’re Fred.” We also find out that James got so into his character, during the rehearsal for when we see Fred “as he ends up,” that he actually fell asleep. He thought he was having an out of body experience when he woke up and everyone had gone to lunch.

This MuggleNet reporter finally got to ask a question of her own: How has the exhibit changed since it first started in Chicago, Illinois, two years ago? Well, as previously mentioned, they have collected all the Horcruxes in one place [apart from Harry, although Oliver suggested they could take Dan and lock him in a cabinet…], as well as the Deathly Hallows. However, the exhibit has not changed its overall layout and content. And those are the highlights of their interview, so now let’s move along to the exhibit itself! We had some time to take a few photos with the twins, and some lucky people even managed to get some autographs. However, time is precious, and despite my time-turner I happened to be wearing, we had to eventually enter the exhibit. I’m sorry, we were finally allowed into the exhibition, escorted by Eddie and Robin. But before we could move, we needed to be sorted into our Hogwarts Houses! This MuggleNet reporter was sorted into her own house – Hufflepuff – as the Sorting Hat will always take into consideration your choice.

After the Sorting, we were taken into a dark room, with posters of all eight films along the walls. Suddenly, these posters changed to a video, which went through all the various events of all the films. After this, we could hear the Hogwarts Express, and suddenly a side wall lifted, and a woman greeted us with a lamp, and the Hogwarts Express could be seen through smoke and the light of the lampshade. We were then invited to walk through to the entrance of the Exhibition. We where first greeted with various moving portraits. Now we had entered the Exhibition, with Robin doing most of the talking through of each prop and object seen, it becomes clear how much of this was taken directly from the sets of Harry Potter in Leavesden Studios. We find that most, if not all, of the objects you will see in the Exhibition, have been taken straight from the films themselves. Now, this may seem quite normal, for things such as the various costumes of our favorite characters, and perhaps a few school books here and there. But surely, SURELY, things like the four-poster beds, some doors, and an Animatronic Buckbeak are all copies? No, you would be mistaken there. The Hippogriff you see, that is apparently standing still, has in fact got many wires and pipes within its body, ready to move as it did on set for Prisoner of Azkaban. Furthermore, the Phoenix you will see in the Exhibition – Fawkes, of course – is also the original Animatronic Fawkes used on set. It is incredible that they were allowed to take these delicate items all the way to Australia, really! So do please appreciate these particular props, as there is more to them than meets the eye.

I feel it appropriate to mirror Eric Scull’s approach to retelling my experience in the Exhibition, and that is to recount my personal favorite pieces I saw within. This of course includes what I have already mentioned. If it is not already obvious, my favorite thing about this Exhibition is the astounding amount of originals we are lucky enough to see, such as the four-poster beds and even the Trunks of Ron and Harry! We were first greeted with various costumes and props from the subjects offered in Hogwarts, such as Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts and Herbology. In each subject, we are given a few objects from the classrooms we see in the film, such as the many portraits and pairings of Gilderoy Lockhart. His section was particularly impressive, as you may remember in the film that massive painting of Gilderoy drawing a painting of himself? You only realize how large it is, and how much detail has been put into it when you see it up close in the Exhibition. It could easily be about 8 feet tall, perhaps taller, and 3 feet wide. Frankly, the paintwork is worthy of the Louvre itself in Paris! That could be the biased fangirl in me speaking, but it really is incredibly huge, and people simply do no realize how much work is put into these things that usually only appear on screen for seconds. Another revelation was made, when another fan site representative pointed out that Snape’s robes are, in fact, Navy. Yes, you read that right. Navy. If you are lucky to visit this Exhibition, look closely at Snape’s robes, and you will see that they are definitely not black.

What we are also forgetting to mention is the interactive side of this Exhibition. As the books are still considered to be children’s books, the creators have taken into account the fact that there will be quite a lot of children wanting to interact with the props. So you are more than welcome to pull out your own mandrake, and re-live your favorite moments from Chamber of Secrets when Harry, Ron and Hermione all pulled out their first mandrakes. You are also invited to pick up a Quaffle and attempt to throw them through any one of the three hoops before you. Within Hagrid’s Hut, we are given the opportunity to sit down in his chair, while admiring the interior of his hut, and there’s something about to crack open on the table there…! Moving on, or rather jumping around the various parts of the Exhibition, we are greeted with the various meet-ins with Voldemort Harry has over the years. This includes his very first meeting with Professor Quirrell, underneath Hogwarts. We do not see the Mirror of Erised, but we do see some Chess pieces. We also see the statue to which Harry was bound to in Goblet of Fire, as well as one of the many Spiders that Harry and Ron encountered in Chamber of Secrets.

As previously stated, I thoroughly encourage you to look closely at the detail put into each prop you see within the Exhibition. For example, it is necessary that you look closely at some of Dolores Umbridge’s Decrees put outside the entrance to the Great Hall. Let me just say that those people in the props department have a good sense of humor, or can perhaps be lazy. The perspective is entirely your own. Speaking of the Great Hall, I was amazed to discover that the entrance to the Great Hall you will get, with the door frame, is an actual mould taken from the Great Hall entrance in Leavesden Studios. If you were to walk into the Great Hall in Leavesden Studios, you would be confronted with the same door as you see in this Exhibition, as they are identical in size and shape and detail. Also, Hagrid’s Hut is its own section within the Exhibition, and again, the creators of this Exhibition have gone out of their way to make this as close to the real thing as possible. The dimensions of the hut, including the size and much of the interior, are identical to that of the ‘real’ hut found in the films. [Although, if we are honest with ourselves, Hagrid’s Hut appears to change shape, size and location with each film, so I am not sure which Hut is being replicated here].

What us Australians will get as an extra treat, is the collection of all the Horcruxes [save Harry himself, Nagini the snake, and of course what is left of Voldemort’s soul in himself]. This is the first time the Exhibition has contained all the Horcruxes in one place. Indeed, it is the first time anyone has ever seen all the Horcruxes together, including those who worked on the films. What we also see, are the Deathly Hallows themselves. This is the first time they have all been united in one place, so that small space behind the glass is officially The True Master of Death! We have also been given a few new costumes from both Deathly Hallows films, such as that lovely red dress Hermione wore to the wedding of Bill and Fleur, as well as Ron, Harry, Luna, and Xenophilius’ outfits. One of the most exciting outfits for me, however, was Neville Longbottom’s sweater he wore to kill Nagini. In fact, the creators quite agree that this costume is special, so they put Godric Gryffindor’s sword right next to Neville’s costume, as they “felt it was appropriate.” We were also treated to seeing various Death Eater costumes, which we were given permission to take photographs of, and this includes the various wands of each Death Eater.

One last thing I would like to emphasize is how much detail goes unappreciated in the films. For example, you may see a Quidditch board game on display, and may think to yourself, “Now where was that in the films again?” Well, it simply wasn’t in the films. It was made, in incredible detail, then they eventually decided not to use it in the films. This, I feel, is why it was such an amazing idea to have an exhibition – for the fans, and the general public, to really appreciate how much care and dedication was put into creating the magic we see on screen. What I have mentioned here does not come close to properly covering everything I saw in the Exhibition, as there is so much more to see.

So I would like to finish with the simple fact that Harry Potter has given us all some incredible magic within our lives, and it is wonderful when we can all unite in our love for the series for such incredible events as this one.

New York City, NY, USA: April 5, 2011 – September 5, 2011

New York City, NY, USA: April 5, 2011 – September 5, 2011

Hosted at Discovery Times Square, a red carpet event was held for the press on April 4, 2011 with many cast members in attendance. You can listen to audio from Warner Bros. of cast and crew roundtables at the following links:

  • Click here to listen to the first group which consisted of of Freddie Stroma (Cormac McLaggen), Natalia Tena (Tonks), David Thewlis (Lupin), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Warwick Davis (Griphook/Flitwick), Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy), David Barron (producer), and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid)
  • Click here to listen to the second group which consisted of Clémence Poésy (Fleur Delacour), Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), and David Heyman (producer)

Seattle, WA, USA: October 23, 2010 – February 13, 2011

Seattle, WA, USA: October 23, 2010 – February 13, 2011

Ramona Andrews and Michele Berg traveled from St. Helens, Oregon, to see the Harry Potter: The Exhibition in Seattle, Washington, at the Pacific Science Center in February of 2011 and found themselves in another world. What follows are their reflections on the exhibit that brought the books and movies of the Harry Potter series to life, as if by magic.

  • Fan Report – Ramona Andrews & Michele Berg

There is magic, even for us Muggles, and we were lucky enough to experience it as soon as we walked through the entrance of Harry Potter: The Exhibition. The magic? We instantly went from middle-aged adults to children in a split second. The books and movies have all done the same thing, but the happiness, awe, and pure joy we felt wandering amongst the set pieces, costumes, models, and memorabilia took us out of Seattle and apparated us straight into the Wizarding world.

We were greeted by a lovely witch, who asked us a few questions in order to “sort” us into our houses. Any Harry Potter fan, no matter the age, has dreamed of being sorted by the Sorting Hat. Once we had been sorted, we were led, still grinning ear-to-ear, into a dark room where they had us view clips from the films for about 10 minutes to get us psyched up for the tour. For the most part, all items had a “hands-off” policy and we were also not allowed to take pictures. We were able to stand on Platform 9 and 3/4 to see the Hogwarts Express, complete with billowing smoke. Every wall was draped with black curtains, and the exhibit was organized into corridors, so you could just concentrate on the scenes and items in front of you. It really made it feel like you were standing in the actual rooms, not in a museum. There were many books and papers in glass cases to look at, like Harry’s Hogwarts letter, the Marauder’s Map, and the test Gilderoy Lockhart gave to the second year students in Defense Against the Dark Arts. When we walked into the dormitory areas and saw Harry and Ron’s beds, they looked very small, but they were children so it makes sense that they would look small. The Exhibit actually brought the beds used in the films, straight from Leavesden Studios. Also in the dorm area were costumes, the golden egg from the TriWizard Tournament, and Quidditch equipment. They had the Nimbus 2000, and all the balls needed to play Quidditch. The quaffle was the coolest, you could tell it was heavy and was really made of leather.

We were surprised at how tiny the robes and uniforms were as well, but everything was placed perfectly in the dorm, because we expected Harry or Ron to run into the room at any moment! Other costumes could be seen in various areas of the exhibit, including Lockhart’s robes, which were very posh looking, the street clothes worn by Harry, Ron, and Hermione looked lived-in and worn, Dumbledore’s wizard robes, and Umbridge’s awful pink dress from when the Weasley twins burst into the Great Hall to interrupt exams. Her dress was also a lot smaller than what we remember it being on screen, and we don’t know how Imelda Staunton wore it because it was made of a scratchy, heavy wool material.

One of the areas where we were allowed to get our hands on some items was the Herbology class. While they did not provide us the use of earmuffs, we were allowed to pull a baby mandrake out and re-pot it. We felt a little reckless without the earmuffs, but it all worked out in the end. No one fainted, at least!

Hagrid’s hut was a highlight of the experience, and probably where we spent the most time. His costume was as big as we expected, considering Hagrid is a half-giant, and we got to sit in his huge chair. They had placed a dragon egg on the table, which we kept waiting for it to hatch, but it never did. There were a lot of items to look at in Hagrid’s hut, and we suspect that Hagrid might actually have a problem with hoarding, but we had to move on to see the rest of the exhibit. Just outside of Hagrid’s hut they had the actual animatronic Buckbeak that was used on set. This was no model – they had actually covered it in dyed feathers, all applied by hand, and we felt that his eyes followed us wherever we went. It only seemed right that we at least give a little bow to see if he would let us approach…and we did!

The Forbidden Forest section hosted a lot of the Death Eater costumes and masks, and was very lowly lit, which gave it an extra creepy feeling. There were Dementors in this section as well, and with the lighting…we were happy not to have to linger in this area since we were only Muggles and unable to cast a protective charm.

Finally, they brought us into the Great Hall, where a lot of the costumes were housed. They had a long table with food on it, and while the food was fake, it looked very real, as if we had interrupted one of the many feasts at Hogwarts. We especially loved getting to see Ron and Harry’s dress robes and Hermione’s dress from the Yule Ball. Once we had completed the tour of the exhibit, they led us into the shopping area, where they had a ton of merchandise for sale as mementos from our tour. There were many cool items, but the prices were a little high, so we didn’t walk away with anything but our memories of the experience.

Toronto, Canada: April 9, 2010 – August 22, 2010

Toronto, Canada: April 9, 2010 – August 22, 2010

Hosted at the Ontario Science Center, the Toronto Exhibition included an event with James and Oliver Phelps who portrayed Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter films. Check out this video from the event and our fan report from Shana Toor.

  • Press Report – Shana Toor

After watching an enthralling, climatic montage of movie clips from the first six Harry Potter films on a row of eight large screens, the group of us knew that experiencing the Harry Potter exhibition first-hand would quickly become one of the most unforgettable events we would ever participate in.

The Harry Potter exhibition media preview started at about 1 pm on Thursday, April 8, 2010, at the Ontario Science Centre. There was also something described as a “photo opportunity inside the exhibition” at 10 am, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend that event. Around 1 pm, we were taken down to the actual exhibition as a group. The people attending ranged from representatives from other HP fansites, representatives from several blogs, and reporters from local newspapers. The exhibition began with a sorting hat ceremony, and two people from our group actually got sorted into Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, respectively. After this, we passed through into a room where there were eight screens in front of us. They each played the same four to five-minute compilation of movie clips. At the climax, there was a shrill train whistle preceding the wall to our left being lifted and revealing a replica of the Hogwarts Express and the beginning of the exhibition with video-animated portraits along the wall. The sorting hat ceremony and the montage were considered the “pre-show” and it was a really great experience, especially since it set the mood for the rest of the exhibition. We were led in the walk-through mainly by Eddie Newquist, who is the Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of the exhibition, and Robin Stapley, who is the Vice President of Creative Studio of the exhibition.

There were seven main settings in the exhibition: the Gryffindor Common Room, Hogwarts classrooms, Quidditch, Hagrid’s Hut, the Forbidden Forest, Dark Forces, and the Great Hall. All of the sections in the exhibit were amazingly detailed and well designed. My personal favorite section was the Dark Forces, just because of the amount of visual and audio detail that was put into it. I would without a doubt say that all Harry Potter fans that have a chance to go to the exhibition whenever it comes to their area should definitely go; it’s really an once-in-a-lifetime experience.

After a quick tour of the exhibition (we were allowed to go back inside later) we had a short Q&A session with the creators, Eddie Newquist and Robin Stapley. The first thing they mentioned was that it was a “thrill” to bring the exhibition to life. They said that it took about 16 semi-trucks to import everything across the United States border, and although they’ve been compiling props and items for the exhibition for over two years, the only challenge they’ve encountered so far is the large amount of stuff that there is to shift from place to place. When asked why they chose the Ontario Science Centre for the location of the exhibition in Canada, a point that they really emphasized was that “the foundation of science comes from inspiration; and just as Harry Potter has a long history of ideas, science also has a long history of ideas,” so they thought that the Ontario Science Centre was an ideal location. Their favorite items in the exhibition are the creatures, such as Buckbeak and Fawkes. When pressed on why there weren’t more interactive, hands-on things in the Harry Potter exhibit (such as the Quaffle toss and the being able to pull out Mandrakes), they replied by stating that a lot of the artifacts were quite sensitive, and that it’s also nice to have a balance between interactive and non-interactive experiences at an exhibit. They haven’t made any exact attendance estimates, but they said that they roughly expect hundreds of thousands of people to pass through the exhibition overall. They also mentioned that they will eventually “definitely have Deathly Hallows props/costumes,” and that they are “€œalways going to be refreshing and updating”€ the exhibit as it travels with props/costumes from Deathly Hallows once they’re available.After the Q&A with Eddie Newquist and Robin Stapley, James and Oliver Phelps came in and we got the opportunity to have a short Q&A with them as well.

Of course, one of the first few things they were asked about was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park and Deathly Hallows filming. They stated that they weren’t allowed to disclose much information about either topic, except that they’ve been filming some “cool action sequences”€ for Deathly Hallows. Their personal favorites from the Exhibition were of course the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes joke shop items and Buckbeak. James’ specific favorite joke shop item was the Puking Pasties, while Oliver preferred the Nose-Biting Teacups. James’ favorite magical creature was the dragon, and Oliver’s was the phoenix. James’ favorite scene to film in the movies was the Yule Ball scene because of the decoration of the Great Hall and the fact that they had to learn how to waltz. Oliver’s favorite scene to film was their first scene on Platform 9 & 3/4. Their favorite Harry Potter book is Prisoner of Azkaban, and they described how they had read it while on vacation a few weeks before they had their screen test for the movies. When asked about their future plans, they said that they definitely want to continue acting after Harry Potter is over. When they started to talk about Harry Potter fans, they expressed, “Potter fans are great in general.” They commented about their fame after being involved with Harry Potter, and described how “there’s always people saying hello.”

Harry Potter: The Exhibition is open at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto from April 9 to August 22.

Boston, MA, USA: October 25, 2009 – February 28, 2010

Boston, MA, USA: October 25, 2009 – February 28, 2010

Hosted at the Boston Museum of Science, the Boston Exhibition had a special event featuring Matthew Lewis, who portrays Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films. This was before Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was filmed.

Staffer Kat Miller was able to attend a roundtable discussion with him and these are some of the things he said:

The scale of it is enormous,”

he says of Part 2. – Neville is

a bloody and battered resistance leader – a battle hardened veteran.

At the time, Matt was going back to work for Deathly Hallows the next week and would be filming the final battle scenes soon. Matt also said that after seeing his own dancing shoes in the exhibition he recalled a scene that had been cut from filming in Goblet of Fire

I can’t dance. They told me Neville is a good dancer. My partner was Bonnie, Ginny Weasley, and we learned the waltz. Which wasn’t too difficult, I was okay with the waltz. You follow it back, to the side, back, to the side. That’s easy, I can do that. Then we had to learn a tango. Now you see the other guys, like Dan & Rupert, they were fine because they were told they were supposed to be rubbish. It was supposed to be uncomfortable. Neville however was supposed to look like Fred Astaire. And so we did this tango, and we spent months on this tango and you know I have got two left feet. It was totally embarassing and Bonnie was probably cringing herself, but she was pretty good. And then we never even shot it, we never even did it. We never even got around to filming it. So that reminded me, with the dancing shoes.

You can check out Matt’s video tour of the Boston exhibition below:

Chicago, IL, USA: April 30, 2009 – September 27, 2009

Chicago, IL, USA: April 30, 2009 – September 27, 2009

Hosted at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, this was the first stop of the exhibition tour.

  • Press Report – Eric Scull
  • Fan Report – Selena
  • Fan Report – Heather Putman

A sneak peek and review by Eric Scull

slughorncloakToday was the day that the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL previewed Harry Potter: The Exhibition to several representatives from the various Harry Potter fansites. Myself, on behalf of MuggleNet.com, was thrilled to attend.

The exhibition opens publicly tomorrow and will be in Chicago until September 27. Its next journey is, at this time, unknown however its creators (in a roundtable discussion held immediately following our preview) have assured us that it will be traveling overseas.

My immediate impression upon entering the museum was that it was the perfect place for this sort of thing. The displays I walked past on my way to check in were beautiful and spacious, and careful planning was immediately apparent. I quickly found Jeff Guillame of HPANA and Edward Drogos from The Leaky Cauldron waiting patiently at the table. It is always good to see familiar faces at these events and, even better, I was among good friends. After a few minutes, the rest of our group had arrived and we were led onwards through the Brain Food Court – past the Big Idea Store – and up the escalators where our tour began. The exhibit is housed in a special section of the museum specifically built to accommodate the needs and desires of Exhibitgroup/Giltspur, the marketing agency who created this. We were taken outside where the line begins and led around to a special set of doors. Once we entered through them, it wasn’t hard to forget where I was… “Allo there! Come on, come in all of you, and welcome!” We’re ushered in by an enthusiastic chap who leads us to the first section of the exhibit: the Sorting Hat. “Well, then, do we have any volunteers?” There was a child among us, but he quickly withdrew his hand, citing a bad experience with a Sorting Hat elsewhere which had put him in Slytherin. I stepped forward and became a Gryffindor, and Tony from DanRadcliffe.com became a Ravenclaw (after pleading rather Harry-like “not Slytherin, not Slytherin!”) The voice that by now is so familiar sounded better than ever in our enclosed room. Then it was time to proceed.

Through the doors on the wall opposite were eight video screens, rectangular and hung vertically like portraits (with frames around them). It was here that we relived a short series of memorable moments from our favorite Harry Potter films, arranged in such a way so as to prepare us for what lie ahead. The true entrance to the exhibit opens, as if by magic, at the conclusion of the short video. If the sound and lighting weren’t enough to take you in already, staring you down is the Hogwarts Express… exhibition_dormitoryThe artifacts to be found beyond this entry-point are many, and rather than try to give an exact blow-by-blow or inventory (as can be found in other reports), I will from this point highlight my own personal favorites. The Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle comic strip: We read about it in Chamber of Secrets, and here is an issue sitting next to some of Ron and Harry’s school possessions. In this edition, Martin tries to learn French. This comic strip was one of the various props produced to appear in the background of shots in the movies. Yet I haven’t seen it, there is no attention paid to it by the narrative of the films, and it is one of the many wonderful things created by J.K. Rowling which I, as a reader, would just love to have realized. Here it is for the whole world to see! A handbook of Do-It-Yourself Broomcare, straight out of the books, rests next to a list of members of Dumbledore’s Army. Nearby is Ron’s Howler in both its closed and opened form. Pumpkin juice (with a pumpkin on the lid!) and Harry’s acceptance letter are all some of the first items on display.

The attention to detail in any one of these props is extravagant. I notice for the first time engravings of a castle on the Golden Egg from the First Triwizard Task. A potions display features what can only be described as “stuff in jars” next to the very intricate costume of Professor Slughorn in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film. There is a box labeled bezoars, with bezoars inside, and two editions of Advanced Potion Making by Liberatius Borage. Very cool.

Across the way is a Divination display. What’s that in the teacup? Oh no, it’s the Grim!! Perhaps my favorite display in the exhibit is the one on Professor Lockhart. If not for this exhibit, the many poses actor Kenneth Branagh took for his character’s various eccentricities would be lost. It is nothing short of hilarious to see him in his various poses for both book covers and signed photographs. The portrait from his DADA classroom, featuring Lockhart painting a portrait of Lockhart, is the backdrop for these. In the glass case also rests a completely developed Defense Against the Dark Arts Second Year Essential Knowledge Test. Yes, this is the 27-odd question exam featuring the questions on good ol’ Gilderoy himself – only viewable in a deleted scene from the second film otherwise, and certainly requiring a closer look.

Across the way is a display of Professor Umbridge’s office. I had heard tell from friends who had visited the fifth movie set about the painstaking detail taken in producing the kitty-cat plates now seen here. It is one thing to see them on the screen and quite something different to have them right in front of you. I was not tempted to eat off of them, however I think I know a few people who would. mandrakepulling

Next were the hands-on features of the exhibit which are worth, in and of themselves, a standing ovation. First is the Mandrake table, where all you have to do is pull on the plants and, before you know it, there’s a Mandrake beneath it screeching at you. I never thought I would experience anything more fun than Whac-a-Mole but I must assure you, reader, that I was wrong. Through the Quidditch tent entrance ahead hang uniforms worn by Ireland and Bulgaria, Cedric Diggory, Harry, and even Ron from Half-Blood Prince. The hands-on display in this area is the Quaffle Toss, in my opinion a complete triumph. Fans who’ve seen the movies should have a pretty clear picture of the red leathery ball known as the Quaffle and will know that it is oddly shaped. Until now, only the actors and set-people will have actually held one. Not only do visitors get to hold one, but quite like an arcade-style game, there are goal posts set up. Passing a Quaffle through these hoops sets off the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch bell. The ring of success will never quite be so good to hear in the films, for now I have triggered it with my bare hands. I foresee museum officials needing to move people forward from this game after their first hour of non-stop playing.

Inside Hagrid’s Hut, the costume which is impossibly large hangs welcomingly. A sign next to Hagrid’s chair reads “Please sit,” so we do. It’s huge. Across the way by the fireplace is the table, upon which an egg, slightly cracked, begins to wiggle. The magic, all of it, is alive in this exhibit. It’s real, tangible, and right there waiting to be witnessed.

There are 25 costumes throughout this exhibit, and some belonged to Harry, Ron, or Hermione in their early years. Even Draco Malfoy’s Quidditch robes from Chamber of Secrets are here, and boy – are they small! At one point, such costumes were worn by real-life eleven and twelve year olds. To put it another way and then move on, seeing them on the screen does not make it clear just how teeny!!!! our favorite trio was.

Moving on I see it’s getting darker outside… or rather, inside, and soon I find myself in the Forbidden Forest. There are Centaurs, yes, among other things. Tom Riddle’s school uniform worn by Christian Coulson in Chamber of Secrets is here, as well as his diary complete with basilisk fang. As far as I can tell, this is the only Horcrux on display so far. There is a Portkey, though… it’s the Triwizard Cup! Two chess pieces from Sorcerer’s Stone are present. The rook has got to be eight feet tall. A Dementor hangs suspended, many wanted posters from Movie 6 of Amycus and Alecto Carrow, Bellatrix Lestrange, and others hang warningly. The Angel of Death graveyard statue is present, and up in the sky I see that the Dark Mark has been cast. I want to get out of the darkness sooner rather than later, so I do.

I find my way past an ornate, aged torch pillar and breathe a sigh of relief as I realize that I am now about to enter the Great Hall. Educational Decrees hang from the wall – each one unique and imposing. Before I enter, I notice a costume in the corner. It is the Bloody Baron’s. This is, in my opinion, the must-see costume of the exhibit, for how excellent (and ruffled!) it is and how little we could possibly make of it from its appearance in the movie. kreacher_exhibitThe Great Hall is the final area of the exhibit featuring plenty of candies and foods and deserts, some of Dumbledore’s costumes and yes, as reported elsewhere, a naked Dobby looking rather confused. I would like to clear up that, on the exhibit’s own list of must-see artifacts, Dobby is listed as a study model used for the second film. Thus, he must be this way so that the graphic artists could properly render him. A Cornish pixie exists earlier in the exhibit much in the same way. On the far corner of the Great Hall is a section devoted to the Yule Ball. Hermione’s gown and Ron’s dress robes are unbelievable up close. It isn’t clear in the films just how many flowers appear on Ron’s robes… There are too many.

Our last stop is the gift shop. It feels just as exciting being in here. Snow globes, busts, action figures, the books, the movies, Hogwarts buttons and pins and key-chains are all available here in one place. According to officially released material, nearly 6,000lbs of rigging, lighting, speakers, cables, and special effects were used to create the exhibition and it is certainly not hard to see how. From start to finish, the places we feel we know are ours to explore. The attention to detail paid by every artist on the props and costumes absolutely glistens in this intimate environment where they seem to live and breathe on their own.

At the roundtable discussion, I am only able to compliment the makers on a job well done. The exhibition is the product of 2-3 years conceptual and visualization work and there was much collaboration between the exhibit makers and the filmmakers. David Heyman and David Yates also provide their stories on certain props for the audio tour of the exhibit, something I will definitely return and try.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition is not only a must-see for every Harry Potter fan. I would go so far as to call it a Harry Potter fan’s Mecca, for inside it is housed all of the elements of what make J.K. Rowling’s world so magical and a reminder of how that world can so easily exist within our own.

When you first walk into the museum, the Flying Ford Anglia is sitting in the main lobby. You can take pictures of it and stand next to the huge “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” sign. Then you head upstairs to where the exhibit is located. You can buy an audio component that has an introduction by David Heyman, and then throughout the exhibit you can listen to the stories behind the artifacts. Then you enter (I think they said that they were letting groups in every 7 1/2 minutes). You walk through a tunnel and then go into a room and some people get to try on the Sorting Hat and get sorted. The man who holds the hat asks you which house is your favorite, and then you end up getting sorted into that house (we couldn’t figure out how he did that… but we got sorted into Gryffindor). Then two big, wooden doors open and you move into a room and watch some clips from the movies. After those are finished, you head into a room where the Hogwarts Express is. The effects in that room are really nice, the lights are almost completely off, except for the light on the train, and there is smoke floating around in the room. Then you are headed into the first room of the exhibit: the common rooms. You get to see the beds that they use in the films, the robes that the kids wear, the trunks that they bring to school, their wands, and the school books. Some of my favorites were: the Marauder’s Map, Harry’s glasses, the parchment where all the members of the DA signed, the “I must not tell lies” parchment, and the Gryffindor common room notice board. After the common room, you walk into a makeshift Hagrid’s hut where you see some props from his hut, including the dragon’s egg from Sorcerer’s Stone, and all the different animal cages that he has. You are also allowed to sit in his huge chair, the one that the trio sat in during the first film. Then you move into the different classes at Hogwarts, Potions, DADA, Herbology, and Divination. You get to see the different cauldrons used in the Potions classrooms, as well as Professor Slughorn’s costume and wand from the upcoming movie. You can also see the crystal balls, Professor Lockhart’s fanmail and costume, and there is even a section devoted to Umbridge. There was a part when they allowed you to pull on the Mandrakes and they would scream.

I loved seeing copies of the actual OWLs that the students took during the films; the questions that they asked were something along the lines of “What is the charm that turns someone’s bogies into bats that attack them?”. Here you could also see many magical creatures like Buckbeak and Fawkes. You then moved to a room that was devoted to Quidditch. You got to see Harry’s Quidditch costumes from all the movies so far (including HBP), as well as Ron’s, Draco’s Cedric’s, Oliver Wood’s, and Madam Hooch’s. You also got to play a game where you could throw Quaffles (I think they were real ones from the movies, but I don’t know) into the scoring hoops. We were then moved into the dark magic section. Here we saw the costumes of the Death Eaters, Dementors, the Malfoys, the Azkaban prisoners, and of course, Voldemort. This room was really scary looking, dimly lit, and there was scary music playing. Then we went into a room that had a bunch of things like the Goblet of Fire and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Finally, we went into the “Great Hall.” On the wall right before we entered, all of the educational decrees were hanging, and we also got to see the costume of the Bloody Baron.

When you moved into the Great Hall, you got to see the food used during the feasts, some candy from Honeydukes, and other props used in the Great Hall. There was also a section devoted to the Yule Ball, where you could find the dress robes that the guys wore, and the dresses that the girls wore. There was a few of Dumbledore’s costumes (including one the Richard Harris wore) and also the Triwizard Cup. You were then exited into, of course, the gift shop. There are so many more things that were in the exhibit and they were all amazing. I would say that this was a must-see for any Harry Potter fan. It was so well put together, from the employees that had British accents, to the soundtrack playing in the background. There was a sense of authenticity because there were still stains on the costumes and dirt on the shoes, so that you were absolutely sure that they were real. In the gift shop, you could buy everything from Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans (yes, every single flavor; most of mine were absolutely disgusting) to Harry’s wand, to the movie posters. I absolutely loved it and I would highly recommend it to anyone, not just Harry Potter fans.

I was lucky enough to receive tickets to a special members-only preview of Harry Potter: The Exhibition this Sunday, before it opens to the public. After a long walk through a winding, white tent, a “wizard” named John ushers all the visitors into a darkened hall with a jovial British accent, “Come on, come on! All o’ yeh get in thar! Nice an’ tight now!” He presents us with a stool on which is placed the Sorting Hat, beneath an elaborate stained-glass window archway. After requesting some volunteers to be sorted into their favorite house (sadly, he passed over the adult hands in the crowd) and the voice of the Sorting Hat booms “Ravenclaw!” or “Gryffindor!” the wizard leads us through the tall wooden doors into a pitch-black room. Suddenly, five screens, each framed like a portrait, light the room with highlights from the films.

We see the beginning of Harry’s journey to Hogwarts, key events, and finally the whooshing of train compartment windows as they flash through the screens. The music mounts, and “Hedwig’s Theme” is in perfect, dramatic timing as a pair of wide oak doors open to our side and a single light gleams through a mist of steam and the screech of an engine – the Hogwarts Express. “Quickly now, quickly!” shouts a cloaked witch holding a dusty lantern. We pass by a life-size Hogwarts Express as we walk across the Hogsmeade platform, where the air is foggy and the trees surrounding us rustle with the cry of the engine. Beside the witch looms a large tree with a “Have You Seen This Wizard?” poster of Sirius Black tacked to it. Rounding the corner, a group of portraits used as part of the set on the films greets you – literally, greets you. Some sigh and smile, while others partake in whatever activity they’re painted doing (my favorite was the portrait of lovers on a swing in a cemetery), and some are as silent as ones in the Muggle world. The Fat Lady tries to impress you with her vocal talents as you pass through her archway into the Gryffindor Common Room. The dorms are depicted on one side, the Common Room on the other.

In the Common Room you can see Hermione, Neville, and Ginny’s robes from Order of the Phoenix, as well as memorable character props. Beside Hermione’s robes are, in a glass case, her Time-Turner, several school books, and her wand. Neville’s trinkets include his dancing shoes from Goblet of Fire, a few Herbology textbooks, and his Mimbulus Mimbletonia. Also in this case is (to my complete and utter joy) the DA list of members – each of the signatures unique. Behind them is a tapestry used in the Common Room in many scenes – the dull rouge-colored one with medieval figures and fleur-de-lis emblazoned on its cloth. Ginny’s robes are here as well, her cardigan and longer skirt mark the distinction from Hermione’s. Across from the Common Room motif is Harry and Ron’s dormitory set. Both of their beds are here, as well as their trunks and several costumes. Each bed is clothed differently – Harry’s, in a plain red wool blanket, and Ron’s in a Mrs. Weasley-knit throw. Ron’s hat from Prisoner of Azkaban is here (also to my delight – it always makes me laugh!) and so is one of his “R” sweaters from Goblet of Fire. Before his bed lies his open trunk, which contains his broken wand mended with Spell-o-Tape from Chamber of Secrets, his Chudley Cannons gear – including an autographed T-shirt by the team – the text, Quidditch Teams of Ireland and Britain, and – most delightfully – his Howler, both the envelope and the torn letter from Mrs. Weasley. Between his and Harry’s beds stand their robes. The terrific thing about how these are displayed is that they reflect the attitudes of their characters – they are not all prim and ironed on the mannequins, but portrayed as how the character would wear them. Ron’s are disheveled with a helpless tie hanging around the shoulders, while Harry’s are more put-together, but crinkled around the neck. Harry’s trunk is perhaps the main event of this set of the exhibit. Inside are his letter of acceptance to Hogwarts – such an icon, it’s surreal to see it physically before you – his glasses, the Marauder’s Map, his wand from Sorcerer’s Stone, and the box of chocolate cauldrons that Romilda Vane gives him in Half-Blood Prince. When I ask one of the wizards, “Where’s his Invisibility Cloak?” the gent smiles and asks me, “Don’t you see it?” This ends the dormitory scenes as we progress toward different classroom sets.

The first is Potions, where Snape and Slughorn’s costumes are, in addition to various potion bottles, texts, cauldrons, jars of hair grease (just kidding), and their wands. My mother made the remark, “Whose robes are those? I like the high black collar. Those are sexy.” I about lost it, and was barely able to mutter through my giggling, “Those are Snape’s.” Just as we turn, the exhibit is infected with a vicious case of pink-eye. Tweed suits, kitten plates, and a bubblegum-colored wall denote the lodgings of Professor Umbridge. Most notable is the desk at which Harry sits to complete his detention in OotP, on which sits that evil quill and the scroll with bloodied ink repeatedly stating, “I must not tell lies.”

Across from Umbridge’s eyesore of a set is Defense Against the Dark Arts, displaying the costumes and props of Professors Lockhart and Lupin. Lockhart’s is incredibly detailed – all his lavender stationary, teacher’s edition quizzes, photos that Harry helps to autograph as part of his detention, and his complete works are here. Beside his glorious Dueling Club robes and his golden, teaching robes is the enormous self-portrait and one of the pesky blue Cornish Pixies. Lupin’s is diminutive in grandeur by comparison, but his tattered robes are here beside his collection of “wizard waltz” records and the Boggart closet, which rattles and makes a racket. There is also the jack-in-a-box that one of the Patil twins transforms from her Boggart as a vicious viper. Seeing it in the movie was one thing; after seeing it in real life, given the choice, I think I’d take on the snake. Professor Trelawney occupies the space near Umbridge’s office. The bulbous-eyed glasses and crystal ball – as well as the teacup with the Grimm in its tea leaves! – are on the table beside Trelawney’s magnificent robes of green silk and beading.

Next is Herbology – which you can sense as you hear the Mandrakes cry from across the exhibition hall. This is one of the many interactive parts of the exhibit. While touching the artifacts is strictly prohibited, they do include some things to occupy your itchy hands. The Mandrakes are fun to pull and hear squeal until you shove them back in the dirt. Almost lovingly beside them stands Professor’s Sprout’s attire from CoS, as well as her gardening tools.

The next section of the exhibit concentrates on the Hogwarts Grounds – Quidditch, Hagrid’s Hut, and the Forbidden Forest. Quidditch steals my attention in this part. Displayed is the full set of balls that Oliver Wood shows Harry in SS, on top of which are crossed Harry’s Nimbus 2000 and Draco Malfoy’s Nimbus 2001 – the latter of which is very sleek, I might add. Next to these is another interactive portion, where we can throw Quaffles through the three golden hoops. I decide to try my hand at it, and a five-year-old’s diverts mine to make his goal instead. There’s a reason I wasn’t picked for my house team. Before moving on to the vast remainder of Quidditch artifacts, I look behind me at Hagrid’s Hut and garden, where Buckbeak stands. His patient expression amidst the pumpkins is not characteristic of his feisty demeanor, but he still seems the gentle giant beside Harry, Ron and Hermione’s clothing worn during the execution scene in PoA. They’re dirty and worn to perfection, and I noticed I have the same rainbow belt and pink hoodie as Emma Watson did in this film. Looming behind them is a freakish pumpkin-headed scarecrow, and beside that is the costume worn by Macnair, the executioner. Hagrid’s Hut is right beside this, as it should be, boasting a spacious living quarters for non-giants to tour. His costume stands on a mannequin that made my mom jump with fright – it’s about eight feet tall and just as wide. One of the helpful wizards explained to us that, most of the time, Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane’s stand-in wore this costume, as Robbie had to bulk up with twice as much material to suit Hagrid’s shape. Apparently the stand-in could really be considered a half-giant! They used him for scenes when they shot his back, and from far away. Across from this formidable presence is Hagrid’s chair, which the kids sit in during CoS. We are welcome to take a breather as well, though getting up and out of this monstrous chair seems more effort than it’s worth! My 6’2″ brother feels – and looks! – so tiny in it! Hagrid’s table and fireplace alone are enough to dwarf us all. The fire is crackling and toasty, while on the table quivers Norbert’s un-hatched egg. Hagrid’s pink umbrella is preserved in a case across from it.

Doubling back to see the remaining Quidditch sets, I am stunned to see the sheer quantity of costumes they salvaged! The attire of Madame Hooch, the Irish National Team, Harry at tryouts in HBP, Viktor Krum, and Ron as keeper in HBP are all staggered in the fan stands. The detail is exquisite. Though you only see them in a flash during the flying sequences, the designers put quite a bit of effort into making them pristine, realistic, and gorgeous. Beside these… is what I quickly deem the arena of hotness. The Quidditch robes of the objects of fan-girls’ love dominate this end of the exhibit hall. Oliver Wood, Cedric Diggory, and Draco Malfoy’s robes are polished and pristinely displayed beneath boards from the trophy room that list each house’s Quidditch captains. The curators were certainly thinking when the placed “PLEASE, DO NOT TOUCH” signs every three inches in front of the costumes that these eligible men wore.

Across from this eye-catching display are the exit of Hagrid’s Hut, and the set of the Forbidden Forest. A whiff of dampness, or mold, catches in my nostrils as I view the life-size models of Bane and the other centaurs, a baby thestral, and the Horntail’s Head amid patches of real moss and dark trees. It sets the mood perfectly. Once I exit the grounds, the dark arts are revealed through some of the most fascinating and detailed artifacts from the films. Quirrell’s robes and turban stand beside Harry’s red sweater and corduroys from SS, and beside them, the Sorcerer’s Stone, flaming-red and scarred, is skewered by a golden rod inside a glass case. Across from this is a display of the Death Eater’s robes from Goblet of Fire. Since the Klu Klux Klan-inspired look was retired when David Yates became director, these costumes have found a home in the exhibition hall. I really wanted to see the detailed masks revealed in OotP, but they seem to be still in use for Deathly Hallows filming. Several of the most striking dark objects appear before me. Looming above the visitors is the “Angel of Death,” the statue Wormtail uses to restrain Harry when the Triwizard Cup transports him to the graveyard. It’s only slightly intimidating – I just hope that scythe is attached firmly. Beside this is, fittingly, Voldemort’s robes Ralph Fiennes dons in this same scene. They are billowy and almost green up-close. His claw-base wand lies faithfully beside it. As I turn, a Dementor howls – right in my face. I jump back to see one of the figures used for filming PoA, and it’s no less frightening in real life as it is, computer-generated, in the film. My mood improves as I step beyond this – the Malfoys’ robes are next. Draco’s Slytherin uniform from SS – so wittle! – stands beside Lucius Malfoy’s costume from when he attends the Quidditch match in CoS. His hat, I’m pleased to see, has made it, and I resist the urge to rub it. I’m even more excited when I see his infamous cane. I fondly refer to it as the “pimp cane,” some call it “snakey,” but everyone recognizes it as uniquely his. I giggle a bit as I notice the snake’s fangs are a little rusty. Beyond this are wanted posters for each of the primary death eaters in HBP. Bellatrix’s and Fenrir Greyback’s catch my eye. I’m disappointed to later find that they don’t sell copies of these in the gift shop – they’re stellar props. A bit further stands two Azkaban uniforms, a traditional male’s as well as Bellatrix’s striped dress as shown in the mass-breakout scene in OotP. Between them stands a faithful Kreacher. Throughout this segment of the exhibit, the darkest part of the score and storm sound and visual effects set a perfect ambiance to gaze at the intriguing, darker side of Harry’s world. It’s flawlessly constructed, and intimidates even a twenty-year-old who thought she had become desensitized to the frightening images and sets of the films – not so. I am scared out of my wits and I love every minute of it.

Around the corner and past another wall of potraits, the mood lifts. I enter the Great Hall! The costume and portrait of the Bloody Baron greet me as I step into the cathedral-like setting of perhaps the most famous of all Harry Potter sets. Dozens of candles float above my head, and great stone eagles flank the walls. There’s so much to see in this part! So, I summon strength to not take it all in at once, and settle on the first corner of the exhibit. The Triwizard champions’ robes are first: Cedric’s Hufflepuff robes, Viktor Krum’s fur cape, and Fleur Delacour’s absolutely stunning blue ensemble. I want her matching shoes. Behind them stands the seven-foot Triwizard Cup’s casket. The next portion depicts the Yule Ball in all its splendor. Various costumes circle a table laden with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and stand before a background of icicles and light blue crystal. Krum’s red suit and Hermione’s magenta silk gown demand attention first. The detail is gorgeous, and the jewelry and all the accessories are included in the display as well. Next is Ron’s – well, you can hardly call it “Yule Ball attire”; it’s certainly a costume! And it looks even more hideous in real life than it does in the film. As a fan of fashion, I think I’ve found my Boggart. Harry’s robes look debonair and stately, as do Cedric Diggory’s, which stand beside Harry’s. Cho’s champagne silk gown is exquisite. The detail in the silk beading and threading is breathtaking! Next to this display are the frosted-glass Triwizard Cup as well as Rita Skeeter’s notebooks and emerald green Quick Quotes Quill. Before I hit up the Head Table, I double back to see what’s along the other wall – candy! Hogsmeade treats, in packaging and in colored shopping bags, litter the floors of several displays – seems they simply picked up the floor of the Gryffindor Common Room. Exploding Snap packs and Quidditch board games are among the rows and rows of sweets. The main event in this line of goodies is Fred and George’s Skiving Snackboxes, the set of which opens like a glorious pyramid of class-ditching saviors. The Fever Fudge, Puking Pastilles, and Fainting Fancies are all brightly colored but compact enough to sneak into class undetected. Best of all, a large “W” label adorns the box. The school robes of Fred and George stand idly by this tome of deliciousness; like all the robes, these are tailored to the character. Fred’s looks pretty well put-together, while George’s are more relaxed and undone. The Head Table. Finally. Fawkes looms in a case overlooking the Sorting Hat, his sympathetic eyes as heart-wrenching as they were in the film. The table beside him boasts the looks of Professor McGonagall – her Yule Ball gown and fabulous feathered hat – and Professor Dumbledore – his Yule Ball robes and his Welcoming Feast robes – and equally wicked hat – from PoA. So, wondering where Dobby is? I was too, after I saw Kreacher had his place beside his mistress, Bellatrix. Dobby is hiding, and for good reason… Because he’s naked. Horrifyingly naked. Yes, my friends. Cowering behind Dumbledore, Dobby stands in all his glorious elfish wonder, with more detail than five-year-olds, twenty-year-olds, or anyone for that matter should have to witness. Not only does he not have his enslaving burlap sack, he has no clothes at all! Is this a symbol? Some sort of sick prank by the curators? I do not know, but the image still haunts me as I write this. Be warned, future visitors. Be warned. So, um, next to Dumbledore and (naked!) Dobby are Sirius Black’s robes from OotP, and next to those is Tonks’ red reptilian skin jacket. The detail, like everything else in this exhibit, is extraordinary. The music reaches a brilliant, conclusive note as I head through the door to the left of the Head Table, and exit the exhibit to the images and sounds of applauding portraits. Don’t be alarmed! You’ll still be high on Potter as you enter the gift shop, constructed in the form of Diagon Alley. They offer an array of merchandise – some of which is unique only to the exhibit – and were persuasive enough to make me spend the equivalent of two paychecks. It’s no matter, though, because this is something I will tell my children about one day, when they read Harry Potter. The moments of my favorite series brought to breathtaking life is something I will treasure, so this exhibit – if you can manage to make it – is well worth the visit.

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