Discovering Hogwarts at the de Young
On a surprisingly clear Sunday in San Francisco, we arrived at the de Young, the Bay Area’s premier fine arts museum, for Museum Hack’s exclusive new tour: de Young Fine Arts Museum: Harry Potter-Inspired Mini-Tour. Museum Hack is a unique tour guide company offering “renegade tours at the world’s best museums.” Along with its “sassy” insider stories, the intimate tours include trivia activities and even competitions where you can win prizes. Since the company’s slogan is “Museums Are F***ing Awesome,” we knew that we were in for an interesting time.
As a key element to the tour, our tour guides, Casey and Kate, made sure that every activity, game, and story related to the wizarding world. The first sign of this was when we gathered underneath the stairs to start our journey just as Harry did. For each stop during our “shopping trip around Diagon Alley,” Casey and Kate pointed out various relics from ancient societies that were reminiscent of various Hogwarts supplies. For example, the Gringotts stop consisted of a case full of small figures that were used as money.
Once at Hogwarts, and before we were Sorted, we learned about the attributes of all the Houses through art pieces that represented each one. As for the Sorting, you could either choose your House or leave it up to fate and pick from a deck of cards. Finally, we fast forwarded to our OWLs, with subjects like Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Transfiguration, and ended with a mini-Quidditch game. After each group of two received their OWL scores, the group that received the most points was awarded their top picks out of a deck of wizarding world careers they would want. As a bonus, Casey and Kate had each of us select an art piece as a “happy Horcrux” that we would place our souls into. After we offered our explanation as to why we had selected our items, Casey chose the winner and gave them a Harry Potter Mystery Mini.
The de Young Fine Arts Museum: Harry Potter-Inspired Mini-Tour is currently scheduled for three more dates only: Friday, November 10; Sunday, November 12; and Sunday, November 19. Tickets are $39 and include admission to the de Young, which is regularly $15 for adults. The minimum age for the tour is 16, and all of Museum Hack’s tours are capped at 12, something we all thought was a great idea since we had no problem gathering around a piece and getting a good view. We recommend going on this tour with a friend since you’ll be doing a lot of partner work!
Museum Hack offers tours in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Every city features the company’s signature Un-Highlights Tour, but we’re most excited for a possible upcoming Harry Potter-themed tour at the Met. Details are forthcoming, but our guide hinted that it may coincide with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Broadway run next year.