If you didn’t know Harry Potter’s World has made a stop at Clayton State University, then I have good news for you. It has, and you must visit! I interviewed our friendly librarian, Ms. Erin Nagel, and got input from Dr. Gordon Baker, Dean of the Library, to find out more about this exhibit.

Besides appealing to Harry Potter fanatics, how does this exhibit appeal to the entire student body?

EN: The Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine exhibit is produced by the National Library of Medicine. As such, it goes beyond the Harry Potter novels and films. The exhibit explores the real historical traditions and figures that contributed to Western science and connects them to J.K. Rowling’s fictional world. The exhibit is truly multi-disciplinary as it explores topics such as philosophy, science, ethics, botany, social justice, history, zoology, and more.

The Potter Talks series also features a diverse group of faculty. The departments of English, Psychology, Archival Science, and Biology are represented. The dates and times for the talks vary to accommodate multiple class schedules.

To complement the exhibit panels from the National Library of Medicine, we have added Harry Potter memorabilia donated from the personal collections of library employees, items handcrafted by library employees, and related resources from the library’s collection.

The full schedule of talks and other resources related to the library’s installation of Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine are available on the exhibit’s website: http://clayton.libguides.com/HarryPottersWorld

Are professors offering extra credit for attending Potter Talks?

EN: Some professors are offering extra credit. We are keeping a sign-in sheet for each talk and can work with professors who would like to offer credit.

One unique class partnership the library has with this exhibit is through the PACE initiative. Three ENGL 1102 classes are producing original work related to the exhibit including research guides and articles about the Potter Talks.

These will be featured on the library’s blog: http://claytonstatelibrary.wordpress.com

Why did the exhibit come to our university library?

GB: I saw a similar visit in Chicago at a library conference. I also discovered that the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) touring exhibit of Harry Potter was being booked by many college and university libraries. Since the library never had a major exhibit, I thought this would be a great exhibit to draw, not only our CSU students but also members of the CSU community.

How long has this visit to our library been in the making?

GB: I contacted the NLM and got on their waiting list. Originally, we were scheduled to have this in 2013. Since our library renovation was delayed several times, I had to change the date.

If getting extra credit or applying the scientific and philosophic world of Harry Potter to our muggle lives doesn’t sway you to stop by, here are four things I recommend you do at the exhibit:

Get sorted into one of Hogwarts four houses. (Team Ravenclaw, here.)

See the displays Harry Potter memorabilia. (Dr. Baker’s collection is incredibly cool.)

Make your own muggle version of magical potions. (I snagged a Polyjuice potion recipe.)

Spot the tributes to various Harry Potter films. (Beware of the Chamber of Secrets!)

The exhibit is open until April 28th in the University Archives. I recommend bringing a friend or two for a more fun experience.

This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. For more information about the exhibit, you can visit the National Library of Medicine’s site here: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/harrypottersworld/exhibition.html

Author: Cree Cornish

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