YSU School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

By William Ludt

Turns out, the world of Harry Potter is centuries in the making.

Youngstown State University is home to the “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine” banner exhibition for the next six weeks.

Cassie Nespor is the curator for the Melnick Medical Museum and William F. Maag, Jr. Library. She reserved the Harry Potter exhibition February 2014, and it arrived on campus last week.

“I reserved them quite a long time ago, because they’re very popular,” Nespor said.

The banners are currently up on display in the reading room on the first floor of Maag, but will move to Kilcawley Center this week.

“[The banners] take a look at the real science — old science — that’s been incorporated into the books,” Nespor said.

Familiar names that are present in the Harry Potter book and film series, like fifteenth alchemist Nicolas Flamel, appear on the banners. Nespor said her favorite part of the exhibit is the teachings of the fifteenth century magician Cornelius Agrippa.

“He writes about magic — which is kind of crazy — but using it responsibly,” Nespor said. “His discussion of how to use power responsibly is something that we juggle every day.”

The National Library of Medicine curated the exhibition and has created resources for teachers interested in using the exhibition to teach a course. The material is available on the National Library of Medicine’s website.

Angela Messenger is the YSU Writing Center director and the advisor for the Room of Requirement, an outreach and social organization on campus.

“The closest, to my knowledge, that [the exhibit] has come to this area before is Alliance,” Messenger said. “We have always been looking forward to having an opportunity to see it, and to create a lot of buzz on campus about Harry Potter and the Room of Requirement.

John Granger, often referred to as the “dean of Harry Potter scholars,” will give a lecture on Sept. 29 in Kilcawley Center. Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public.

“It’s a nice way for people to have an opportunity to revisit the series, if they have read it before or if they haven’t yet read it,” Messenger said. “This does help people reframe their thoughts on Harry Potter, and that this is sort of a long lasting tradition.”

The Harry Potter exhibit will be on display in Kilcawley Center until Sept. 11, and then will move to the Youngstown Public Library. On Sept. 28, the exhibit will move to DeBartolo Hall and finish out its residency on campus on Oct. 29.

The Room of Requirement in Harry Potter is a space in Hogwarts that presents itself to students that are in need of it. The organization on campus by the same name started in reference to the series, but now has grown to accept all pop-culture fandoms.

The Youngstown Public Library will host a costume contest on Sept. 19 in part with the Harry Potter exhibit.

For more information on “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine” visit http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/harrypottersworld/exhibition.html