Magical Muggle Museum

Magical Muggle Museum

WHERE: Can you believe it’s been ten years since the release of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?” Neither can the Penn Museum, which transforms into the Magical Muggle Museum this month in a day devoted to all things Harry Potter.

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 11, from 12:30 to 4:45 pm.

WHAT IS IT?: You’ll have to wait until late 2009 to visit the Harry Potter-themed amusement park in Orlando, but the Museum’s enchanting event should do for now. Go all-out with other fanatics and relive the magic with a series of day’s events appropriate for fans of all ages. Listen to a Hogwarts lecture from Penn anthropology professor Louise Krasniewicz, playing the magic school’s herbology professor Pomona Sprout. Krasniewicz’s students, from her “Mythology and the Movies” class, will serve as the enlarged pieces for a game of Wizard Chess. Plus, design your own wand at Ollivander’s Wand Shop and craft a special potion with potions master Severus Snape.

WHY THE POTTER-MANIA?: Fan culture is pervasive and addictive. As Krasniewicz explains, “We live stories of the movie in everyday life and act them out.”

WHAT TO EXPECT: Immediately upon entrance to the museum, sift through the sorting hat to see if you’re in Gryffindor or (gasp) Slytherin house. It wouldn’t be a museum without Harry Potter artifacts, so transport into Harry’s world with a stroll along Diagon Alley complete with tangible objects for perusal by our Muggle, human selves. Thirsty? There’s butterbeer at the cafe. The Museum will undergo a complete transformation, much like certain 7-Eleven stores were changed into Quik-E-Marts before the release of “The Simpsons Movie.”

FOR THE NON-FAN: Not into Potter mania? Screen the initial movie for the first time, attend the Philadelphia Zoo’s “The Care of Magical Creatures”—learn about owls, spiders, rats and snakes—or, arrive late for a concert with The Moaning Myrtles and The Whomping Willows.

ON THE HUNT: Come early and stop by the crystal ball (located in the Chinese Rotunda) to pick up maps for the scavenger hunt.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call the Museum at 215-898-4890, or visit Krasniewicz’s website for a schedule of the day’s events: http://web.mac.com/kraz/HP/Welcome.html. Admission is half-price if you come in costume. Otherwise, it’s $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 17, students and senior citizens.

Originally published on November 1, 2007