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Harry Potter exhibition at Briggs explores series’ roots

JENNY+NGUYEN%0AThe+%22Harry+Potter%27s+World%22+Exhibition+contains+a+variety+of+objects+in+the+glass+show+case+such+as+these+potion+bottles+Feb.+23+in+the+Briggs+Library.
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Harry Potter exhibition at Briggs explores series’ roots

JENNY NGUYEN
The

JENNY NGUYEN The "Harry Potter's World" Exhibition contains a variety of objects in the glass show case such as these potion bottles Feb. 23 in the Briggs Library.

JENNY NGUYEN The "Harry Potter's World" Exhibition contains a variety of objects in the glass show case such as these potion bottles Feb. 23 in the Briggs Library.

JENNY NGUYEN The "Harry Potter's World" Exhibition contains a variety of objects in the glass show case such as these potion bottles Feb. 23 in the Briggs Library.

Lauren Franken

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T he wizarding world of Harry Potter is brought to life in Briggs Library’s “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine” traveling exhibition.

The exhibit is one of many developed by the National Library of Medicine that Briggs has scheduled for the next few years.

Former South Dakota State President David Chicoine and his wife, Marcia, covered the expenses of the exhibit, the presentation, the technical equipment and the shipping.

Library Operations Manager Emmeline Elliott said the exhibit is the first of its kind at Briggs, and has been in the works for nearly two-and-a-half years.

Harry Potter is a series recognized by nearly an entire generation, which is why bringing it to SDSU in a way that relates to academia was so important to the library, Elliott said.

“We were excited to bring Harry Potter in because it is the 20th anniversary of the U.S. release of the first book, so we thought that was kind of cool,” she said.

Plenty of Harry Potter artifacts are on display, including all seven books, the Marauder’s Map, miniature Quidditch balls and other replica props from the series.

Six banners near the display give information connecting potions, monsters, herbology, magical creatures, fantastic beasts and immortality to Renaissance ideas about science, magic and medicine.

“It’s cool to walk into the library and see something different set up,” said Carter Hausmann, sophomore family and consumer science education major. “It gives me a chance to take a break from homework and studying, and focus on something else for a little bit.”

Elliot said the exhibit has generated a lot of attention — not only among college students, but throughout the entire Brookings community.

“We’ve had students come in here — grade-school students – we’ve seen adults bring in their children,” she said. “I’m excited that the exhibit is generating so much interest and that it can reach such a wide audience.”

The connection between scientific ideas of the Renaissance and the magic that brought Harry Potter to life is what Erika Tritle, lecturer of religion at SDSU, explored Tuesday in her presentation “Imitating the Image of God and Conquering the Stars: Magic, Alchemy and Religion in the Roots of Modern Science.”

“The exhibit is about the Renaissance’s influence in the Harry Potter series, so she’s [Tritle] going to be expanding on that topic and talking about how the traditions, medicines, magic and religion of the Renaissance era are found in modern science and in the Harry Potter series,” Elliot said.

Tritle believes thinking about historical connections between magic, science and religion helps people understand the ideas behind the Harry Potter series and can help explain its immense popularity.

She hopes students who attended her presentation took away a richer understanding of Renaissance practices, and developed an idea of whether or not they agree there’s room for magic and fantasy in our scientifically-focused society.

“I think we do, as human beings, think magically in a lot of ways,” Tritle said. “There are tensions within us for wanting to follow rational, logical and evidence-based programs of thought … but that doesn’t quite fulfill our imaginations.”

The Harry Potter’s World exhibit will remain displayed on the main floor of Briggs Library until March 24.

More traveling exhibits will make their way to Briggs, including a “Pictures of Nursing” exhibit in March and April 2020, commemorating the 85th anniversary of the SDSU nursing program, and a Frankenstein exhibit in October 2020.

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Harry Potter exhibition at Briggs explores series’ roots