Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine

January 28 - February 26, 2010

Williston Library Court

Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine focuses on Harry Potter's magical world and its connections to Renaissance thinkers, lore and practices. Mount Holyoke will explore this history by looking at primary sources from the Renaissance, performing Renaissance music, lectures and book discussions.

In 1997, British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter and a literary phenomenon was born. 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, the seven-part series examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power. This exhibition, using materials from the National Library of Medicine, explores Harry Potter's world and its roots in Renaissance magic, science, and medicine.

Mount Holyoke is one of only 12 libraries selected to host Harry Potter's World by the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The National Library of Medicine partnered with the American Library Association to create a traveling version of the Harry Potter's World exhibition. Due to its popularity, the National Library of Medicine has created copies of the exhibit that will travel to 70 additional libraries.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition created by Warner Brothers and Exhibitgroup/Giltspur is entirely separate and unrelated to this library exhibition. Please see Harry Potter: The Exhibition for more information about the Warner Brothers exhibition of movie artifacts.

Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine, a traveling exhibition for libraries, was organized by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. The exhibition tour is coordinated by the American Library Association Public Programs Office, Chicago.