“Harry Potter: the Exhibition” Fan Report #2

by Selena

The Exhibition was hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois, from April 30, 2009, to September 27, 2009. This was its first stop.

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 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.

Don’t forget to check out Mugglenet’s report by our own Eric Scull, as well as our bonus report by MuggleNet reader Heather.

 

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