(Originally Posted April 6, 2013)
TIMES SQUARE, NY- Wizards, witches, and muggles showed their reserved tickets at the Discovery Museum in Times Square, to learn about the behind the scenes work that went into bringing J.K. Rowling's world to life. Harry Potter: The Exhibition was in its final weekend, and packed to capacity.
The journey inside the replicated Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry begins with the sorting hat ceremony. The hat chooses which Hogwarts House you belong to; Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin. Three children eagerly volunteered to try on the hat and discover what house they would represent. Two were chosen for Gryffindor, and the other sorted into Ravenclaw.
After the sorting hat ceremony, a set of doors lead into a hall with framed posters from all eight Harry Potter films. The posters transform into screens, each showing various scenes from Harry, Ron, and Hermione's adventures. A secret wall then opens up, and after passing the Hogwarts Express train, you enter the school common rooms and dormitories.
Props, furniture, and costumes are displayed as you walk by. The characters within the enchanted paintings move. Items from Harry's glasses to Fred and George Weasley's Marauder's Map are recognizable by fans. Each of the dormitories hold the beds, trunks, candy, school supplies, and robes of beloved characters. Don't bother trying to enter the Gryffindor common room. The Fat Lady portrait cares more about her singing than letting anyone through.
Once the dormitories are explored, class is in session. Props from charms, transfiguration, defense against the dark arts, potions, and fortune telling surround this section of the exhibit. As the classrooms transition into the school grounds, you are asked to join Professor Sprout's herbology class. Be careful pulling a mandrake from her garden. They have a piercing scream!
Hagrid's Hut is the perfect place to learn about magical creatures, like Buckbeak the hippogryph. Go through the backdoor, and a quidditch match is about to begin. Think you got what it takes to play the game? Throw a quaffel through the hoops and score a few points.
Have your wand prepared while entering the dark forest. Giant spiders, dragons, dementors, and other dangerous creatures lurk about. He- who- must- not- be- named and the dark wizards from Azkaban might be hiding in the shadows, protecting the horcruxes.
The journey through Hogwarts ends at the Great Hall. Floating candles light up the ceiling. Dresses and suits from the Yule ball in The Goblet of Fire are beautifully displayed. Dumbledore and McGonagall's wands are at the front of the hall. Dobby the house elf is around making sure everything is in order. While leaving the hall, check out Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes, rise from the ashes.
The gift shop is awesome for souvenirs such as Hogwarts merchandise and owl stationary. Sweets like chocolate frogs and every flavor beans are sold. Robes, ties, shirts, costumes, books, Hedwig plushies, and books are also available for purchase. It’s a compact version of Diagon Alley.
I met three cosplayers while at the gift shop. Rebecca Dupont, part of team Ravenclaw, loved the costumes, and was surprised by how small the dormitory beds were. "They look so much bigger in the films," Dupont recalls. "It really surprised me."
Ben Riesebeck is a Hufflepuff fan all the way. When asked which character from Harry Potter he would interview if given the opportunity, he answered; "Professor McGonagall. I would have said Dumbledore, but I feel like he might confuse me with a riddle or mixed message."
Undecided between Gryffindor and Slytherin, Brianna Bischoff was surprised most by the amount of wands displayed in the exhibition. "You really don't notice how many wizards there are in the movie until you pass all the wands in each display." She said. "I lost count."
All three agree the books are relatively similar to the movies. Whether it was the book series, films, or the curiosity of magic, Harry Potter: The Exhibition is a magical experience for the wizard in all of us.
Photos: Rosa Elena Burgos
Last updated: June 25, 2019