The New York Historical Society in Manhattan — located at 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024 — has launched an exhibition on the History of Magic, in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter book Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. The exhibition does include ancient texts and artifacts relating to actual magical study and practice of yore as well as Potter memorabilia. Naturally, the U.S. UK media is awash in cutesy, often waggish listicles about eldritch arts, alchemists, such like.
Here’s the deets
- The exhibition will combine centuries-old treasures, with original material from Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury and J.K. Rowling’s own archives, going on display for the first time.
- The exhibition includes stunning loans from national and international institutions – including broomsticks, wands and crystal balls.
Harry Potter: A History of Magic will unveil rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic from across the world, which are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories.
Based on the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, including Potions, Herbology, Divination, Care of Magical Creatures and Defence Against the Dark Arts, this exhibition will also showcase material from J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury’s own collections, going on display for the very first time.
Exhibition highlights include:
- Annotated sketch of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by J.K. Rowling, complete with the giant squid that lives in the lake
- J.K. Rowling’s handwritten list of the teachers and subjects at Hogwarts
- Original artwork by Jim Kay for the illustrated Harry Potter editions, including paintings and sketches of Harry Potter, the Hogwarts Express, Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Hagrid
- The Ripley Scroll – a 6 metre-long alchemical manuscript that describes how to make the Philosopher’s Stone, from the 1500s
- An early written record of ‘abracadabra’, used as a charm to cure malaria
- An Arabic illuminated manuscript showing male and female mandrakes
- The tombstone of Nicolas Flamel, a real historical figure who also features in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- Black moon crystal ball, used by ‘Smelly Nelly’, a Paignton witch from the 20th century who had a taste for strong perfume
- A mermaid, allegedly caught in Japan in the 18th century