Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library
For the millions of Potterheads who never received their Hogwarts acceptance letters, Harry Potter: A History of Magic is the closest thing to a magical education. This exhibition runs from 20th October 2017 until 28th February 2018 at the British Library. New technology, old relics and artefacts from JK Rowling, author of the immensely popular Harry Potter novel series the show is based upon, bring the magic alive.
Housed in the many rooms of the exhibition are glimpses into the past, present and future of witchcraft and wizardry. Items from various museums all over the world, such as the British Museum, show how magic has always been interwoven with culture, and how the history of witchcraft and mystical creatures inspired Rowling’s writing. The Divination section holds the Chinese Oracle Bones, which were believed to tell the future and can be dated back to 27 December 1192 BC, as well as interactive tarot cards. Additionally, a 3,000-year-old cauldron from Battersea is near two animated cauldrons where visitors can make a variety of virtual concoctions. Another standout is a 400-year-old celestial globe that, thanks to augmented reality, allows visitors to view the constellations of the world, many of which have the same names of characters in the Harry Potter series.
Other notable items are the 500-year-old, six-metre Ripley Scroll illustrating the supposed process to make a Philosopher’s Stone, a “mermaid” discovered in 18th-century Japan, which is really a monkey’s body attached to a fish’s tail, and the earliest printed depiction of witches using a cauldron. The show also features artefacts from Rowling herself, such as original manuscripts with editors’ notes and a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Audiences of all ages and backgrounds will be bewitched by the display. “We think it’s an exhibition with a very wide appeal. This is about the history of magic, throughout all sorts of cultures…” says Joanna, one of the four curators of the show. This unique collection has magic powerful enough to unite Potterheads, history buffs and magic enthusiasts from all around the world.
Breathtaking, refreshing, and contemporary, this season’s most anticipated exhibit has already offered over 12,000 free tickets to students, and rightly so. Both educating and entertaining, the riveting content of The History of Magic is perfect for anyone worth their wand.
Photo: British Library
Harry Potter: A History of Magic is at the British Library from 20th October 2017 until 28th February 2018. For further information or to book visit the British Library website here.
Watch the trailer for Harry Potter: A History of Magic here: