Harry Potter comes to the Franklin Institute

Enchanting signs lead guests through the magical exhibition as they explore the world of Harry Potter.

Ella Goodstadt ('24)

Enchanting signs lead guests through the magical exhibition as they explore the world of Harry Potter.

Attention all muggles, members of the wizarding world, and fantastic beasts! Magic arrived in Philadelphia on February 18, 2022, when the World Premiere of Harry Potter™: The Exhibition came to the Franklin Institute. The exhibition is the first of its kind for the wizarding world and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the blockbuster films.
Upon entry of the enchanting exhibit, guests are invited to create a profile for themselves. At special booths, they enter their name, their Hogwarts “house” (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin), their favorite wizard world wand, and their “patronus” which is, in a sense, their spirit animal. After doing so, visitors receive Harry Potter themed wrist bands which allow them to have access to various elements within the exhibit itself.

The Franklin Institute is adorned in banners advertising the World Premiere of Harry Potter™: The Exhibition. (Ella Goodstadt (’24))

When stepping into the first room of the exhibition, guests are completely immersed into the magic and immediately begin to partake in a journey of the Harry Potter series. In this area, visitors get their first photo opportunity as they scan their wristbands, and their names appear on the walls which have the Marauder’s Map – a prop and recurring staple that debuted in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.The exhibit is divided into sections that are perfectly curated to various topics relating to the books and movies, and guests are welcomed to walk freely throughout the rooms at their leisure. One of the initial sections introduces guests to each of the Hogwarts houses. On display are authentic costumes and props with detailed descriptions that relate to each of the houses. For example, one may find the Hogwarts school robes that Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the rest of the Gryffindor students wore in the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Replicas of the educational decrees in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix have been made for exhibit. (Ella Goodstadt (’24))

The most extensive portion of the exhibit is dedicated to various parts of the Hogwarts school and different sectors of the Wizarding World. Walls help to divide decorated rooms that represent the various school subjects of Hogwarts. The “Herbology” room is enveloped in various plants, and the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” room provides details on the “revolving door” of professors that taught the class. The “Potions” room offers interactive features for guests to use their knowledge from Professor Snape’s class to create a virtual potion, and the “Divination” section provides guests with the opportunity to look into a teacup and read the prophecies for their future. One of the most enchanting aspects of the exhibit is the recreation of the “Great Hall.” It gives visitors a look at the dining area of Hogwarts and the changing backdrops of the Halloween and Christmas scenes from the movies.

Authentic costumes such as these from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 are on display. (Ella Goodstadt (’24))

The Franklin Institute kept the exhibition perfectly friendly for people of all ages. There were opportunities for guests to read, explore, and truly take in the magic of Harry Potter. Younger visitors could interact with props on display like throwing “quaffles” into the “Quidditch” hoops in a room that was designed to share all there is to know about the magical sport of Quidditch. Additionally, there were plenty of photo opportunities as people could take pictures of Harry’s cupboard under the stairs and at the Ministry of Magic desk of the ruthless Dolores Umbridge.

A miniature version of Hogwarts castle has been created to give viewers a feel of what the structure looks like in person. (Ella Goodstadt (’24))

The World Premiere of Harry Potter™: The Exhibition is truly a spellbinding experience. Anything and everything Harry Potter was on display for visitors to take in the behind-the-scenes magic of the movies. Authentic costumes and props, recreated sets, and detailed facts and explanations all contribute to the enchanting atmosphere of the exhibit. It is absolutely perfect for Harry Potter fans of all ages and offers an incredible look at the blockbuster films.

The exhibition is on display through September 18, 2022, and tickets can be purchased at https://www.fi.edu.