Harry Potter: The Exhibition – Singapore
by Nicolette Mok
From June 2, 2012, to September 30, 2012, Harry Potter: The Exhibition was hosted at ArtScience Museum in Singapore. This was its first Asian stop and seventh stop overall.
Harry Potter: The Exhibition was a “labor of love,” with Warner Bros. Studios generously giving up original movie artifacts and the team spending two weeks in the Great Hall at Leavesden Studios to amass the items. James and Oliver Phelps praised the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes products, which are realistic packages rather than empty boxes.
We were invited to the Sorting Ceremony, where the hat Sorted a few fans into the House they expressed partiality toward.
Clips from the films played on eight glowing screens, with “Hedwig’s Theme” echoing in our ears. One side of the room lifted to reveal the Hogwarts Express amid billowing steam.
Gryffindor Common Room
The portrait of the Fat Lady brought us to the Gryffindor common room. On display is a noticeboard featuring handwritten memos by students, everything from lost articles to recruitment notices. The other side of the noticeboard doubles as the blackboard in Professor McGonagall’s classroom.
Gryffindor Boys’ Dormitory
Ron’s side of the wall is lined with Chudley Cannons posters, while Harry’s trunk displays the discarded box of spiked chocolates from Romilda Vane and the Marauder’s Map amid messy and unmade beds.
Multiple Defense Against the Dark Arts and Potions professors have their display areas littered with their most iconic paraphernalia. We heard the Herbology greenhouses before seeing them since a row of mandrakes wails earsplittingly when pulled. The Divination classroom allowed us to read a cup of tea leaves.
The Bulgarian and Irish national Quidditch robes – as well as the Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff ones – are presented proudly among numerous trophies. We saw a couple of broomsticks, Quidditch balls, and other exciting Quidditch paraphernalia. I had way too much fun chucking actual-sized Quaffles through hoops in the interactive arena!
Hagrid’s plus-size hut looks like a scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with Buckbeak, a pumpkin patch, a Macnair figure, and tiny costumes of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson.
Sitting in Hagrid’s huge armchair, we saw his pink umbrella, a copy of The Monster Book of Monsters, and Norbert(a)’s egg dominating his dining table. Crates and other knickknacks adorn his walls and ceiling.
The Forbidden Forest
The forest’s misty foliage reveals regal centaurs, a terrifying Hungarian Horntail, one of Aragog’s descendants, and even a surprisingly adorable baby Thestral.
We saw mementos from Harry’s many run-ins with Voldemort and other Dark forces. The figure of a Petrified Colin Creevey, used in the film, has been placed next to Tom Riddle’s Slytherin robes. The Angel of Death statue from the Little Hangleton graveyard is displayed along with grubby Azkaban costumes, Kreacher, and a Dementor fluttering menacingly above our heads. We heard Voldemort himself whispering in our ears…
The Death Eater exhibit showcases Bellatrix’s costume and dagger alongside Death Eater masks from different films. A Dark Mark, digitized to look like wispy smoke, hovers above the artifacts. The Horcruxes sit proudly in their display case with Nagini by the side of Voldemort’s costume and Harry conspicuously missing.
The Great Hall
Walls lined with Death Eater wanted posters and public notices with safety instructions precede the Great Hall, which has floating candles. We saw framed Educational Decrees and hangings bearing the House colors and symbols. The Triwizard Cup and a copy of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore lie on one side. We saw an elaborate Quidditch board game from Prisoner of Azkaban and articles from the Daily Prophet.
Tonks, Sirius, Dumbledore, and McGonagall’s costumes, and the figure that “played” Dobby, are displayed with a small case that contains the Deathly Hallows. The Yule Ball section showcases lavish costumes and the ice sculpture centerpiece used in the fourth film. Neville Longbottom’s costume stands tall next to the sword of Godric Gryffindor and a fully grown, magnificent Fawkes in an adjacent case. The dining area with genuine-looking food items transported us directly into a real Hogwarts feast.
A corridor full of portraits applauding us led us to a souvenir shop, with exorbitantly priced Potter memorabilia placed under “shop” headings like “Gambol & Japes” and “Borgin and Burkes.” While I did leave the exhibition empty-handed, I still feel giddy remembering the incredible journey I experienced.