The U.S. National Library of Medicine developed an exhibit called Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance, Science, Magic and Medicine. The Iberia Parish Library is its one stop in Louisiana.
Iberia Parish Main Library is at 445 East Main St. in New Iberia.
Although the Harry Potter series is fictional, a lot of the Potterverse’s history is based on beliefs held during the Renaissance. At that time magic, medicine and science were married — one could just as easily be a physician as well as a maker of love potions and an astronomer on the side. Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance, Science, Magic and Medicine shows how Rowling got inspired to write different parts of Harry Potter's world.
This exhibit is broken into Potions, Magical Creatures, Immortality, Herbology, Fantastical Beasts and Monsters. Quotes and examples from Harry Potter are offered along with excerpts from real medical texts from centuries ago showing how people really did believe in such things. Examples shown are things like writings from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim who wrote one of the most famous works on magic, the 16th century’s De Occulta Philosophia. He cameos in the Potterverse as a wizard trading card. Nicolas Flamel was a 15th century alchemist in real life and features in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as the creator of the stone. Exerpts of Flamel's writing are shown and parallels are drawn between his world centuries ago and the writings of different Harry Potter books.
Like Rowlings’ series this exhibit is fascinating for kids and adults alike. It proves what research was done to provoke Harry Potter’s thorough world and pays homage to history.
The exhibit runs through Dec. 29. Call 364-7024 for information. There is no cost to attend.