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Report: Harry Potter: The Exhibition in Discovery Times Square, NYC

Posted by: Rosi
April 07, 2011, 01:04 PM

On Saturday 2nd April, The Leaky Cauldron attended a press preview of Harry Potter: The Exhibition at its new location in Discovery Times Square, New York City. The exhibition opened yesterday, 5th April and will run until the 5th September. You can find ticket information at this link on the exhibition's official website or at the bottom of this report.

As you walk into the exhibition space, you can choose to have your photograph taken in front of a green screen. The photographs can be seen and bought in various sizes at the very end of the exhibition; the green screen is replaced either by Hogwarts Castle or Hagrid's Hut. After queuing for a short time, we were guided in a group of 15 people to a small room with a Sorting Hat placed on a stool. A guide, dressed in wizard robes, calls for volunteers who would like to be sorted. Luckily, the three volunteers were all sorted into their favourite houses!

We were then guided into the next room, which was completely dark save for eight screens on the wall. A montage of the film series was shown and included clips from each of the first seven films. It was a great way to set the happily nostalgic mood of the exhibition, as the exhibition itself was not chronologically ordered but in many ways a montage of the spaces and props used for the films. As the montage comes to a close, the left-hand wall of the pre-show room rises and a replica of the Hogwarts Express is revealed. Walking past the replica and the trunks and through a wall full of paintings from the portrait gallery, the exhibition proper begins.

The first room of the exhibition is a combination of the Gryffindor Common Room and dorm rooms. Harry's (incredibly tiny) glasses are on display in a glass box as well as Ron's Howler and various bits of Chudley Cannons paraphernalia. The exhibition allows you to look up close at the detail on the curtains Dumbledore professes to have hated so much and also to take a peek at the Marauders' Map. One is first struck by the remarkable detail put into all of these props: spellbooks with incredible designs, notes on the Gryffindor Common Room noticeboard and so on. Ron's Weasley jumper is also on display.

Walking into the next part of the exhibition the first thing I spotted was Gilderoy Lockhart's painting. A huge canvas, it is surrounded by many very humourous photographs, paintings and books by and about the infamous Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Lupin and Lockhart's costumes are on display in this section, as are the costumes used for Professor Snape, as well as a large selection of potion ingredients and the meticulously annotated potion book belonging to the Half Blood Prince. The Grim can still be spotted in the cup on display in the Divination section, which additionally has a crystal ball, a number of pouffes and a look into outlandish Trelawney's wardrobe. The Herbology greenhouse area is the first truly interactive part of the tour, where it is strangely satisfying to be able to pull Mandrakes out of their flowerpots and hear them screech.

I then passed through Hagrid's hut, where a fire burns in order to warm the dragon egg and where you can take a seat in Hagrid's very big and very comfy armchair. Hagrid's costume is also on display and was approximately two and a half times taller than I was.

The next setting was the Quidditch area, where you can see Quidditch robes belonging to Harry, Draco, Ron, Krum and more, as well as their broomsticks, memorabilia from the Quidditch World Cup, the trunk of Quidditch balls and of course, the Golden Snitch. Another interactive part of the exhibition allows you to play Quidditch! It's not clear at first that you are allowed to pick up the soft Quaffles and throw them through the hoops but after tentatively asking the security guard standing nearby, we scored many points for our respective houses and enjoyed hearing the scoring bell after every successful throw.

The exhibition then moves guests downstairs to a darker, Forbidden Forest area where this arachnophobic Leaky Editor may or may not have yelped at the sight of the Acromantula. Life-size centaurs and a huge Hungarian Horntail head can be spotted in this section.

The penultimate room was Dark Forces, and most interesting to see was the colours of Voldemort's robes which were in fact a dark green. The exhibition as a whole offered an opportunity to consider the choices the costume designer has to make with regards to how the costumes will look on screen under various lighting and the strange hue of Voldemort's robes really highlighted this. Also on display in this room is the grave from the fourth film, Kreacher and a number of Death Eater robes, including Bellatrix's corset.

The last room was the Great Hall, which you enter by walking through great doors surrounded by Proclamations from the fifth film. On display in the centre is a wide selection of sweets from the films and as you walk around the room, you can see the huge Triwizard cup, the ice sculpture and the Yule Ball costumes, all from the fourth film. Again, the detail is remarkable, from Yule ball invitations and tablecloths to floating candles lighting the room.

Guided then through the gift shop, the exhibition comes to a close. Harry Potter: The Exhibition exemplifies the incredible care taken to make the Harry Potter films as realistic as possible, and gives guests the opportunity to look at the craftmanship that went into the films. Find out more details about the exhibition here on its official website.

Ticket information:
Harry Potter: The Exhibition opens Friday, April 1 – Sunday, April 3 for the Sneak Peek Preview Weekend and reopens Tuesday, April 5 and runs through Monday, September 5, 2011. The exhibition requires a time-entry ticket and guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets early to ensure the best date and time. Tickets for the exhibition can be purchased at the Discovery Times Square box office (226 West 44th Street), through the website  or by phone at (866) 987-9692. Discovery Times Square is open Monday – Sunday 10am – 8 pm, last admission 1 hour prior to closing. General public admission to Harry Potter: The Exhibition is $25 for adults; $22.50 for seniors (65 and over) and $19.50 for children (4-12); children under 4 years of age are free.

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1749 Points

Sounds very much like the one in Boston. Hopefully they have more items since they are now done with filming (which they weren’t when the exhibition was in Boston). I’m going to the one in NY, too…so I guess I’ll find out!

Posted by Rin68nyr on April 07, 2011, 05:27 PM report to moderator
4852 Points

It also sounds a lot like the one in Toronto!

Posted by #1 Witch ROAR! on April 07, 2011, 05:43 PM report to moderator
667 Points

…still waiting in Europe…

Posted by chikitcorpuzvesterbaek on April 07, 2011, 06:14 PM report to moderator
442 Points

If you can go, it’s really worth it. I had a great time when I saw it in Boston.

Great report, Rosi!

Posted by Bandersnatch on April 07, 2011, 06:57 PM report to moderator
349 Points

Bring it to Los Angeles!!!

Posted by AvanelleWood on April 07, 2011, 07:00 PM report to moderator
3158 Points

Bring it to Asia. Seriously.

Posted by potternotrotter on April 07, 2011, 10:52 PM report to moderator
20981 Points

Why oh why couldnt it have come by me? I would freak out seeing all the props and costumes. sighs Oh well at least I can read about it.

Posted by LunaLuver on April 08, 2011, 01:11 AM report to moderator

It was the same in Seattle.It is well worth going. I got to go to the sneak preview here in Seattle and return several times to enjoy the exhibit. I saw small changes each time I went.

Posted by Grahd on April 08, 2011, 01:17 AM report to moderator
5439 Points

still waiting in Europe…

Posted by Fleur-de- Lily on April 08, 2011, 05:33 AM report to moderator
2641 Points

It was pretty much the same in Chicago. Really worth it if you get the chance to go.

Posted by TerieB on April 08, 2011, 06:27 AM report to moderator
35 Points

I really really wish that it would come to Las Vegas…..seriously :(

Posted by Dobby_17 on April 08, 2011, 10:47 AM report to moderator
1026 Points

I visited this in Seattle and I have to admit it was amazing. I thought they were adding more stuff from DH Part 1??? Also, did this Leaky reporter not see an “Undesirable #1” poster near the great hall? I did.

Posted by AbbyWeasley on April 08, 2011, 12:43 PM report to moderator
683 Points

OMG , I am going next may !!!!!!!! great!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by HalfbloodPrince08 on April 08, 2011, 08:21 PM report to moderator
948 Points

it sucks- not being able to go ;/

Posted by Miss Weasley on April 09, 2011, 12:39 PM report to moderator
150 Points

i went today, really worth it!… for taking your pictures in the green screen it was either the castle or the great hall.. not hagrids hut..^^^^

Posted by Winkyxx on April 09, 2011, 08:03 PM report to moderator
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