Report: Harry Potter: The Exhibition in Discovery Times Square, NYCEvents
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.
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 www.DiscoveryTS.com 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.