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Desire for Knowledge     Different Perspectives



Desire for Knowledge

In the Harry Potter novels, young wizards and witches are required to attend school, just like their non-magical, or Muggle, counterparts. Wizarding classes at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are similar to the chemistry or biology classes taught in a non-magical school—at both types of schools, students learn about the properties of the natural world around them. Follow the clues below to discover more similarities between Harry's fictional world and ours:

  1. Investigate the Potions section and find answers to:
    1. What is the difference between the Sorcerer's Stone and the Philosopher's Stone?
    2. For what was Nicolas Flamel really famous in history?
  2. Examine the historical records in the Monsters section and find answers to:
    1. In Harry Potter, dragon heartstring is used to make wands. What did Konrad Gesner write about the curative use of dragon fat?
    2. Hagrid used The Monster Book of Monsters to teach the Care of Magical Creatures class in Hogwarts. What creatures and monsters did Gesner's Historiae Animalium include?
  3. Mandrake is used in a potion for un-petrification in Harry Potter. Find out what it was used for historically in the Herbology section.


  4. Voldemort stayed alive by killing and drinking unicorn's blood in the first Harry Potter novel. Historically, unicorns were also believed to have life-saving properties. What medicinal use of unicorns did the famous surgeon Ambroise Paré describe? (Clue: Magical Creatures)

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Different Perspectives

The curator states that “Several of Harry's mentors are bothered by the inequalities forced on these creatures and feel that wizards could benefit by learning about many different magical cultures.” Explore the Fantastic Beasts section where this statement appears and consider the following key questions:

  1. What do you think is the key message that the curator's statement expresses? (Hint: consider the quotes by Albus Dumbledore and Sirius Black excerpted from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.)
  2. Who is the historic figure that is included as a sculpture in Harry Potter?
  3. What was this historic figure's attitude towards different cultural perspectives and practices in healing

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