Science & Industry Museum Potter Exhibit: Why?

Okay, I’m clueless. Again.

The Museum of Science and Industry, that really cool place on Chicago’s South Side with the submarine and coal mine, has a Harry Potter Exhibit. Read about it here.

Other than purely mercenary motives, what are they thinking? Science? Industry? I don’t get it.

Must be proximity to the ‘School Experience Most Like Hogwarts.’

Your thoughts?


  1. Dave the Longwinded says

    Well, again, we had a short post on this at The Hog’s Head a while back. It’s largely mercenary, but their justification had to do with recognizing the industrial skills it took to design sets, costumes, and such.

    Yeah, the museum is cashing in. But, at least the thing is sold as giving credit to some creative people who rarely ever get enough recognition.

  2. Since we’ve been to the museum to visit it, I think it has to deal with the natural “kid appeal” that museum offers. The museum has lots of working/moving parts and then throw in what all kids love right now, Harry Potter. Although it’s not cheap to go through, with I believe it was $10 on top of museum tickets and then $6 or $8 more for a headset to get a “guide” on the tour. So I think there is some monetary incentives to have the exhibit too.

  3. Perhaps they understand that magic is a metaphor for science and technology? They could be literate geeks, you know. And, ultimately, how one uses science and technology revelas one’s heart, rather like magic.

  4. I can think of several reasons for bringing the exhibit to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
    For one, cinema and its supporting crafts i.e. set design, CG, animatronics, wardrobe design, are quite the Pop Culture phenomenoms fueling the energies of many creative geniuses.
    Two, the Museum provides the space and technology to host such an exhibit. This is the ONLY Midwest location! (I read this on the website for the exhibit)
    And finally on a more whimsical note, the sciences of the Muggle world are quite comparable to the magic in Harry’s wizarding realm, don’t you think? I defer to Arthur Weasley’s penchant for delving into the workings of most things Muggle to support my claim!
    I haven’t seen the exhibit in person….YET!…though I’ve taken the tour online. The reviews I’ve read are quick to point out the intricately detailed work on the costumes and in the sets/props themselves; visuals we Muggles generally miss or take for granted watching the films. The little touches make such a huge difference. Anyway, we hope to make the trip over Labor Day weekend to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

  5. I can only echo what some others have said about the connections with the film industry and the applied science necessary to make all that film “magic” work. I’m sure they understand that.

    Also, the Museum of Science and Industry has all sorts of mathom-y things with particular appeal to children. Colleen Moore’s doll house is still in the basement, isn’t it? In a room to itself, with some unbelievable treasures including miniature books written in the author’s hand, paintings drawn by Walt Disney, and a little chapel with a piece of the True Cross, donated by the Pope via Clare Booth Luce. It has Christmas Trees from around the world in the winter and an Imax Theater (which is playing *HBP* right now).

    I spent a lot of time there back in 1990, when there was a bad recession and there wasn’t a job to be found anywhere. It was free back then and a good place for an unemployed person who lived in Hyde Park to go. I probably went once a week for a while. Having been to the keynote luncheon at Azkatraz and seen the presentation, it really does look like a fabulous exhibit. I hope I get a chance to go.

    I don’t think it’s directly connected with the U of C so much as its ancestry in the Chicago World’s Fair.

  6. Correction: the Columbian Exposition, not the World’s Fair.

  7. Bought our tickets today for this (8/29) Saturday’s evening exhibition and we’re counting down the hours!!!!! Quite reasonable as event tickets go ($18 each, plus an additional minimal fee)….couldn’t get Cardinal bleacher seats that cheap in June :-0

    I believe the exhibit moves to Boston next, for those of you interested.

  8. Oh my…I had a wonderful posting describing our time at the exhibit yesterday and then I tried to change a word during the preview of said post…..wellllll, I must have used an Obliviate charm because now it’s all gone. Rats!!!! There is no way to duplicate my previous attempt, so I will just say this:

    The exhibit was wonderful; I encourage all of you to try and see it should it come to your part of the country. The sets are viewer-friendly; I was able to lean over the velvet rope “barriers” to get up-close-and-personal with a variety of costumes and props. (Colin Creavy’s petrified double is just freaky-wierd! He creeped my out big-time.) The key to looking close is keeping your hands at your side, in your pockets, or on the listening devices rented for the audio tour. Plan your time wisely: once you enter the exhibit, there are no restrooms available and leaving the area means you’re done….no re-enter without buying another ticket. We purchased tickets for 5pm so we wouldn’t have to buy museum admission. That’s another day’s trip.

    Instead of buying the proverbial T-shirt, we opted for a commemorative pictorial program/book inclusive of the text used in the audio tour. It now resides with my library of HP commentaries! My husband couldn’t resist a Mad-Eye Moody eyeball keychain….the eye always looks upward!!!! Just what an Assistant Principal needs in his office…an extra eye! Ha!

    There you go…my promised report on “Harry Potter, the Exhibit.” If any HogPro out there has a question about specifics, I’ll be happy to answer them. Thank you, Professor John, for letting me share.


  9. Thank you, PJ!

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