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The science museum had lost its charm

I twittered my on-the-spot reactions to the Harry Potter exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science, mainly, as a way to kill time because this show was definitely So Not My Thing. While I knew it was going to be about the films (which I’ve only seen out of the corner of my eye on TV) rather than the books, I dragged my companions along to the preview with the promise that there might be some cool stuff about moviemaking and special effects. Instead, it was an admittedly dazzling faux-Hogwarts gallery of costumes and props, a couple of minimally interactive pit stops (skee-ball like Quidditch tossing; plastic plants that made a noise when you touched them) and a big fat $ouvenir emporium. No ideas of any kind about science or magic or movies were offered. True fans will not be deterred, I’m sure, but I was a little embarrassed for the Museum, whose role, I think, is limited to giving the exhibit space (I wonder how the profits get sliced up). It could have been great, though, with opportunities to look at the science behind alchemy, say, or how CGI really works. But this was all “celebrate the magic,” complete with English-accented guides and guards recruited from Craigslist. Why, so you feel like you’re in an English museum? I dunno.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. holly cupala says:

    >If you're tired of the science museum, why not try the Sci-Fi Museum in Seattle? Original manuscripts and blasters never lose their charm!

  2. >Years ago we went in to Boston for a "Science of Star Trek" exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science. It was a traveling exhibit and a very big deal at the time. Our recollection of that event is similar to yours for this one–long on fan stuff, but short on science. (I'm not a serious science person, myself, so an argument could be made that the science aspect shot over my head; but I was with a techie person and the science didn't make much of an impression on him, either.)

    My main memory is of the displays of TV/movie costumes. I was surprised because they looked so cheesy.

  3. >how much do you suppose the museum is paid for sponsoring this exhibit? (I mean, in addition to what they make on admission fees)

  4. >Was there a crowd? Around here, Harry Potter already seems so last century.

  5. >I'm sorry it was a "foggy day in London town."

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