Harry Potter exhibit connects magic with science

From Aug. 3 to Sept. 4, a traveling Harry Potter exhibit from the National Library of Medicine is on display in the Health Professions Division Library on NSU’s main campus.

Titled “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine,” the free public exhibit explores the similarities between the Harry Potter literary phenomenon and Renaissance-era science and philosophy that shaped Western civilization.

“This is the most popular exhibit created by the National Library of Medicine, and because so many people love Harry Potter, it should generate a lot of interest,” said Todd Puccio, director of Technical Services at the HPD Library.

The world of Harry Potter was introduced to readers in 1997 by British author J.K. Rowling, and it soon became one of the world’s most popular fantasy series. Rowling’s inspiration for the magic in her seven books has been attributed to numerous historical and mythological sources, including the work of several Renaissance philosophers, alchemists and astrologists. The exhibit presents explanations for various aspects of Harry Potter’s world, such as potions, magical creatures and herbology.

The library hosted a free “Wizard’s Tournament” at the exhibit’s grand opening reception on Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. Attendees participated in trivia and costume contests. According to Puccio, a “Wizard’s Cook-off” was also planned for the opening but was cancelled due to the lack of NSU student support.

“One young lady from the community brought cupcakes, and even though we had 88 people show up, not enough HPD students signed up for the cook-off,” said Puccio.

Winners of each of the trivia and costume contests were awarded Amazon gift cards, and attendees also played a Harry Potter dueling game on a Wii in the library’s media area.

Although this is not the library’s first exhibit, it is the first to have an opening reception.

“I’ve been working here for 18 years, and we’ve never had any kinds of reception in our facility,” said Puccio. “It was successful, and we hope to have another one to accompany a future exhibit.”

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