In an effort to provide learning opportunities for citizens of Cobb County, the Smyrna Public Library opened its exhibit, “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine,” on January 23, featuring materials from the National Library of Medicine and an interactive curriculum for wizards of all ages.
The exhibit, tucked into the corner of the library, consists of five panels of information on alchemy, immortality, herbology, and mythological creatures with their relation to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. It explores the real world of Renaissance figures such as Nicholas Flamel, Konrad Gesner, and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, rooting the fiction in reality.
“They’ll make references to Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore, but they’re hoping that people will get interested in the real science behind the references and say ‘Hey, I didn’t know [Rowling] wasn’t just making that up; she was talking about something she studied when she was a student,” library director Mary Moore said.
The library also provides a small curriculum with various interactive opportunities like worksheets, coloring pages, and books to check out. Once a patron gathers up five credit hours, completed by doing various worksheets and reading the exhibit, they receive a magical wand and “certificate of magical thinking” authorized by the Hogwarts Extension and Outreach Program for Muggles.
“I loved the worksheets! They taught me a lot about Harry Potter and it was awesome to get a wand and certificate,” local citizen and nine-year-old Erin Wilford said.
The exhibit will run through March 4 at the library, on which the Friends of Smyrna Library will hold a “Care of Magical Creatures” day with instruction on reptiles, a snake for viewing, and an interactive craft.