Penn Museum Presents a Special Afternoon Program with “Fan”fare:
HARRY POTTER AND THE MAGICAL MUGGLE MUSEUM
Sunday, 11 November 12:30 to 4:45 p.m.
Hold on to your hats (wizard hats, that is)!
06 OCTOBER 2007, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Sunday, 11 November 2007, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology opens at 12:30 p.m.—half an hour early—to fit in all the magic, as the Museum presents HARRY POTTER AND THE MAGICAL MUGGLE MUSEUM. Designed for Harry Potter aficionados and novices of all ages, the afternoon, free with Museum admission donation, includes a potions class, a sorting hat, lectures by Hogwarts (and University of Pennsylvania) professors, a game of Wizard Chess with real people, Diagon Alley and Ollivander’s wand making shop, a tour of magical muggle objects on display in the Museum, grand finale concert appearances by “The Moaning Myrtles” and “The Whomping Willows”—and in between, much more.
Guests to the magical muggle museum can expect to see a number of Hogwarts regulars milling among them, including the likes of Professors Severus Snape, Rubeus Hagrid, Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody, and Pomona Sprout, plus Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, Lucius and Draco Malfoy, Winky the house elf, and a sprinkling, perhaps, of Dementors. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore will make an appearance…and maybe even Lord Voldemort. Visitors who come in wizard costume will be rewarded with a magical discount—half off the admission donation to the day!
The magical world of Harry Potter, young wizard hero in the novels of J.K. Rowling, has enchanted millions of book readers and movie viewers around the world. With HARRY POTTER AND THE MAGICAL MUGGLE MUSEUM, Penn Museum celebrates both the fantastical world of Harry Potter, and the very human, worldwide fascination with magic.
Anthropologist Louise Krasniewicz, senior research scientist in the American section at Penn Museum and professor of “Mythology and the Movies,” a University of Pennsylvania undergraduate course cross-listed with the Anthropology and Cinema Studies departments, is coordinator of the day’s festivities, which take place in classrooms, auditoriums, and galleries around the museum. Her class plays an integral role in making this special event happen—from the organization of games of Wizard Chess (featuring magically enlarged, human chess pieces) to activities on Diagon Alley, where visitors can indulge in Bertie Bott’s bean tastings (while supplies last), make wands at Ollivanders, and more.
According to Dr. Krasniewicz, “the wizarding world of Harry Potter, so delightfully and thoroughly constructed in J.K. Rowling’s books and their movie versions, also lives on in the fan culture that has grown up around the characters and ideas about magic that Rowling developed. In order to understand, as anthropologists, what Harry Potter means to viewers and readers, I want my students to experience a part of that fan culture by developing and participating in a fan event. Around the world, HP fans dress in costumes, attend conventions and book parties, write blogs, and create fan sites. It’s a wonderful world populated by imaginative and creative people. By bringing an event to Penn Museum, I hope my students—and our visitors—can see how important such active participation can be to understanding the mythological stories that govern our understandings of the world.”
The afternoon begins with an (optional) Sorting Hat Ceremony, where visitors, like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry students, can be “sorted” into one of four Hogwarts houses (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravensclaw, or Slytherin) as they enter the Museum. Professor Pomona Sprout (a.k.a. Dr. Krasniewicz) provides an official welcome at 1 p.m., followed by a short talk, “Muggle Magic around the World.”
Mallory and Megan Schuyler, the 21-year-old producers behind Gryffinclaw Productions, LLC’s soon to be released documentary, “The Wizard Rockumentary,” have traveled the country in search of emerging musical artists performing Wizard Rock—and what they call the “HP music scene.” They join the festivities, and talk about the magical making of their forthcoming film.
Potions, spells and magical objects, of varieties both wizardly and muggle (denotes non-magical people), are on the day’s agenda. Hogwarts’ own Professor Severus Snape (a.k.a. Penn Museum’s own Archivist, Alessandro Pezzati) offers an exacting potions class, designed for younger Hogwarts students. On a muggle note, Associate Professor Peter Struck, Classical Studies Department at the University of Pennsylvania, offers a lecture on some of the many ancient spells that humans have devised. Penn Museum docents offer “Magical Objects” tours that focus on some of the fascinating “magical” objects from diverse world cultures, on display in the Museum’s galleries. In the Museum Café, Madam Rosmerta whips up some free samples of a favorite Hogwarts’ concoction, Butterbeer (while supplies last).
Even the Philadelphia Zoo gets in on the act, presenting “The Care of Magical Creatures”—expect to learn more about owls, spiders, snakes, and rats!
For those yet unfamiliar with Harry Potter (is it possible?), the Museum will be screening “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the first of the Harry Potter movies, throughout the afternoon.
At 4 p.m., the grand finale: two HP “wizard bands” offer live performances. Audiences can enjoy the musical talents of “The Moaning Myrtles” and “The Whomping Willows.”
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, located at 3260 South Streets on the Penn campus in Philadelphia, is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage. For general information, visitors may call (215) 898-4000, or visit the Museum’s award-winning website at http://www.penn.museum.