Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Of Muggles and Magic and Visits to Chi-town

Okay, maybe I'm a "senior" fan, but I love Harry Potter, his world and his friends. Author Jo Rowling has a fantastic imagination, and the movies give life and breath to her creation. Recently, while visiting my "transplanted Texan" daughter at her home near Chicago, we took the train downtown to tour the Harry Potter exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

This is Andrea on the train (regrettably, not the Hogwarts Special)

and this is Chicago's Union Station.

When we arrived at the Museum of Science and Industry, a huge poster announced this summer's major attraction. The tents at the photo's bottom left housed the exhibit.

When we entered the museum, the Weasleys' flying car provided an irresistable photo op:

I regret that I can't share photos of the exhibits because none were allowed. But believe me, the movies' props and costumes were impressive. The artistry and creative genius!

We felt as though we were walking through Hogwarts. The tour began with a sorting hat ceremony, followed by a walk past the famous animated paintings and through the passageway to Griffindor. We loved seeing the costumes of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, from the very small ones in Sorcerer's Stone through the near-adult sizes in the more recent movies. Dumbledore's costumes were wonderful, replete with detail. I noticed that Dumbledore's hat was embellished by small metal bees, and Andrea told me that the word "dumbledore" means "bumblebee"! (An interesting discussion is here: http://www.wordsources.info/words-mod-portmanteau.html.) A guide told us that Lucius Malfoy's costume is made of "snakeskin silk" -- quite appropriate for that character. (That guide was a young man who seemed quite taken with my Andrea -- I think that's why we received special attention throughout the entire exhibit!) My favorite display was Hagrid's hut, complete with his enormous chair (I sat in it!), and his pumpkin patch featuring Buckbeak. That creature was quite a work of art in itself! And of course, there were dementors (shiver!) and You-Know-Who's costume from Goblet of Fire. Even the Great Hall was there, complete with food props.

The Museum's OmniMax Theater was also showing Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Of course we had to see it, and son-in-law Pat joined us to view the movie. I have to say, though, that the movie in OmniMax was just too BIG to really enjoy. I love IMax theaters with their amazingly tall screens, and I saw Order of the Phoenix in 3-D on an IMax screen. But OmniMax is a huge curved screen above the audience -- the ceiling of the theater -- and it's impossible to see the entire screen at any one moment. I felt that I missed much of the movie. No worries, though -- Hubby and I saw it again in an ordinary movie theater.

I so enjoyed this exhibit, and can't wait for the final two movies!

(The more observant of you will notice that Andrea's clothing is different in the first photo than in the others. Yes, I confess, we saw the exhibit twice, and I combined both visits for this blog.)


  1. Hi Linda - you and your daughter would love Gloucester Cathedral, where the cloisters were used to film some of Hogwarts. They are very old, cold and stoney, no special effects needed!
    I'm so glad you enjoy my little blog, thank you - I love sharing my outings with anyone who cares to read them, and if you feel as if you are walking with me, then that is exactly what I am hoping. :)

  2. No worries about seeing it twice-I think I still hold the record at four times! In my defense though, every time was taking an out of towner! Love you Mom! Andy