Mount Holyoke to Host Harry Potter's World

24-Jan-2010 11:00 AM EST

Mount Holyoke College

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Newswise — The Williston Library at Mount Holyoke College will present Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine, a national traveling exhibition focusing on Harry Potter’s magical world and its connection to Renaissance thinkers, lore and practices, from Jan. 28 through Feb. 26. The Mount Holyoke Library is one of only 12 selected nationwide by the American Library Association Public Programs Office to host Harry Potter's World.

Millions of readers have followed J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter 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 literary 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.

The Mount Holyoke exhibition will kick off with an opening night party Thursday, Jan. 28. This event will feature an acoustic performance by Harry and the Potters and a costume contest, with prizes being awarded in seven categories, including "Best Harry Potter" and "Best Magical Creature."

The exhibition itself will feature rare and unique treasures highlighting the magical elements found on the Mount Holyoke campus. Drawn from the College's own collections, bewitching images of science and sorcery, plants and potions, creatures and monsters, and mysteries from the natural world will all be on display. Visitors will see fantastical works from the MHC Art Museum, tantalizing specimens from the biology and geology departments and the College's Botanic Garden, and a spellbinding array of volumes, herbals, psalters, astronomical texts, and more from rare books in Archives and Special Collections.

As part of the events being offered in conjunction with the exhibition, two activities have been created especially for children to enjoy during their February school recess. A weeklong children's theater workshop has been scheduled for Feb. 15-19 at the College; children are also invited to a Hogwarts-style Young Wizards Show at the South Hadley Public Library on Feb. 19. Special adult events include a daylong teachers institute through the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies, two choral performances of Atalanta Fugiens, a Harry Potter book discussion series, and a lecture by Mount Holyoke associate professor of chemistry W. Donald Cotter.

Full details on the exhibition and related events can be found at: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/go/harrypotter

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. For more information about the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Local sponsors include Mount Holyoke's Office of Student Programs, Art Museum, Botanic Garden, and biology and geology departments; the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies; the Five College Recycling Program; and the South Hadley Public Library.

For more information, call Mount Holyoke's Library, Information, and Technology Services (LITS) at 413-538-2212. The College and Williston Library are located at 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075.

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