In 1997, British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter. Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy.
Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, Harry Potter’s World examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power. It explores Harry Potter’s roots in Renaissance science, and the ethical questions that affected not only the wizards of Harry Potter, but also the featured historical thinkers. To augment the exhibition, related items from the CMHSL’s Historical Collections will also be on display.
Harry Potter’s World will be on display from Monday September 23rd to Thursday, October 31st.
The exhibition was curated by Elizabeth J. Bland, under the support of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.