‘Harry Potter’ exhibit open at the New-York Historical Society

Muggles can finally get a peek inside the vaunted halls of Hogwarts.

The highly anticipated “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” exhibition is now open at the New-York Historical Society.

Visitors will enter the exhibit as if they are stepping into the mysterious, sprawling castle that houses Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Inside is a treasure trove of items that will amaze both Harry Potter fans as well as people interested in the rich legends that influenced writer J.K. Rowling.

There are sets and costumes from the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a broomstick that reportedly belonged to a woman with magical powers, a “Black Moon” crystal ball, John James Audubon’s watercolor of snowy owls (hello, Hedwig!) and Rowling’s handwritten book drafts.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see original manuscripts and explore the traditions, folklore and magic that inspires her,” said Cristian Petru Panaite, associate curator of exhibitions at the museum.

The show is organized around the subjects taught at Hogwarts: Potions and Alchemy, Herbology, Divination, Charms, Astronomy, Defense Against the Dark Arts and Care of Magical Creatures.

The exhibit originated at the British Library, but the show at the museum’s Central Park West building will have some exclusive items from different New York City collections.

A 92-inch narwhal tusk, a loan from The Explorer’s Club, is part of the exhibit, along with a 13th century astrolabe from the American Museum of Natural History.

Visitors can also get a look at Brian Selznick’s vision for the covers of the 20th anniversary editions of the Harry Potter books, which came out this summer.

A 16th century Ripley Scroll on display claims to hold the secrets on how to make the philosopher’s stone. Herbariums from the 13th and 14th centuries explore the healing power of plants.

The exhibit also points out that New York City architecture features its own rich array of mythical creatures.

“Wherever possible, we tweaked the story to make it New York-related,” said Panaite. “We talk about fantastic beasts and where to find them, such as the Woolworth Building. There is this idea that fantastic beasts are lurking around the city, protecting New York.”

The Historical Society has also planned a series of trivia nights, creative writing classes and hands-on crafts for visitors of all ages.

While Panaite is busy getting the show ready and enjoying the artifacts, he’s also preparing by rereading the Harry Potter series.

“There’s always something new to discover,” he said.


“Harry Potter: A History of Magic” runs from Friday to Jan. 27, 2019, at the New-York Historical Society | tickets $21/adults, $16/seniors, $13/students, $6/ages 5-13, FREE ages 4 and younger (tickets are for timed entry and include admission to the museum for the day) | 170 Central Park W., 212-873-3400, tickets at harrypotter.nyhistory.org