Harry Potter has been – and still is – an incredibly successful media series. Millions of readers and movie goers have enjoyed the story of the young wizard. New books have been published this year and with a movie coming out this fall, the world of wizards has not yet lost its magic. Children and adults alike have immersed themselves in the content. Recently an exhibition has been set up to give more insight in the movies. The Harry Potter exhibition in Brussels has clearly been a success, judging from the reviews and the visitor numbers. It has now been extended until the beginning of November due to its popularity and already has been travelling the world for quite a long period. Real props used in the movies with a short explanation are displayed for the visitors to see. It engages the public more in the story and fans are often keen to view all the clothing, wands and magical objects of their favourite characters.
Entering Hogwarts a selection of guests experience the Sorting Hat ceremony and are assigned to a house. The Fat Lady guards the tower of Gryffindor, a house at the school of witchcraft and wizardry. The exact same footage as in the movie is shown, the difference is the proximity of the lady herself and that it all seems to be more real. Finally the people reach the area where the objects are displayed. From necklaces to uniforms and from wands to brooms, all is exhibited in front of themed backgrounds. Even some of the paintings hang on the walls. The pieces are carefully separated by topic; by school subject, location, event or even something else. In the greenhouses visitors can repot their Mandrakes, a practice that was once taught in the Herbology classes. A Mandrake is a plant that, when pulled out of the ground, starts screaming loudly and in a high voice. Their cries could be heard everywhere. A boggart, a known fictive creature, is making noises in the closet it is in. Quidditch, a sport normally played on broomsticks, has its own compartment and guest could try to score themselves. Hagrid’s Hut in the Forbidden Forest has been carefully reconstructed as well as some mythical creatures including an enormous tarantula. The dark side of magic is also presented elaborately, while a reconstruction of the Great Hall of Hogwarts is located right after that.
This indicates the level of new experience products used in this exhibition. An immersive world was created that truly transforms the concept of an exhibition and helps bring the level of this leisure activity up. The video of The Fat Lady performing within her portrait, the Mandrakes and the Quidditch game are innovative. It is not a mere collection of objects that are exhibited there, it is a whole experience. Fans had fun performing spells on the Boggart and other dark creatures. Moreover, the merchandise adds perfectly to the experience. After viewing everything from the movie, guests could pick their own wands, maps, uniforms and more. This elongates the experience to long after the exhibition, as it is a souvenir that people bring home. A cherished memory. The books and movies are made more tangible by using experience products, which creates this immersion.
The Harry Potter exhibition will in Utrecht next year!