Harry Potter at the Museum of Science

After spending a totally absorbing 90 minutes at Harry Potter: The Exhibition, I still don’t know why it’s at the Museum of Science of all places — what’s the connection with science? — but I highly recommend it nonetheless. The exhibition consists mainly of actual props, sets, and costumes from the filming of the Harry Potter movies, supported by small amounts of textual commentary and other related material. By far the most striking aspect of the show is the exquisite attention to detail; every tiny bit of the handmade costumes and other props has been carefully crafted and expertly weathered so has not to look new. The verisimilitude has been enhanced by the context in which the materials are set — sometimes actual scenes but more often just sets that are suggestive of the scenes used in the movies. Even the usual store that you are forced to walk through when leaving the exhibit is entrancing, as it is made up to look like various shops from the movies. The exhibition will be there until February 21; don’t miss it!

Incidentally, it struck me as I was walking through the exhibits that there is a deep connection with model railroading here. I was asking myself why I would be interested in costume design, a subject that actually doesn’t interest me at all. And yet the costumes were among the most fascinating artifacts on display. Halfway through it hit me: even though everything was 1:1 scale, it’s a lot like a model railroad! The attention to detail created a miniature world that selectively reflects the real world but veers off into fantasy in various ways. I once again thought of imaginary gardens with real toads in them. See a post I wrote four and half years ago, which was actually about math but could equally as well have been about model railroading; it’s just that everything is intertwingled.

Categories: Model Railroading, Movies & (occasionally) TV, Technology