Harry Potter: A history of magic
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a fan of the Harry Potter book and film series. I didn’t come to the series till I was in college, but still found it entertaining. The New York Historical Society currently has an exhibit, Harry Potter: A History of Magic. This exhibit is less about the history of the book or film franchise and more about how history and legends impacted J.K. Rowling’s work.
There is no photography allowed in the exhibit, however there are some beautiful illustrations and art work in the museum’s lobby that you can snap photos of. The exhibit is split up by subjects and themes that correspond with the classes Harry and his peers took at Hogwarts. Subjects like Potions and Herbology cover remedies and herbs that have been thought to have healing or magical properties throughout history. Transfiguration is juxtaposed with how mythological creatures such as werewolves have been depicted in different cultures and folklore.
For die hard Potter fans there is beautiful artwork of book covers and events. Each room that is themed by subject also has artwork around the Hogwarts professor who taught a particular class. The British Library produced a book off of which this exhibit is based. I read it prior to going to the museum and found that background helpful. If you do go see the exhibit first you’ll receive a code a the end of your tour for a free download of the audio version of the book.
The exhibit is timed and it can get crowded. It’s best to book your tickets in advance and if possible choose an off day and hour. The weekends and holidays draw larger crowds. You can see Harry Potter: A History of Magic through January 27th, 2019.
The New York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West near the B,C stop at 81st street or the 1 stop at 79th street. Check their site for hours and how to book tickets in advance.