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Harry Potter -  Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine. See our Traveling Exhibition & Resources banner.

Do Mandrakes Really Scream? Magic and Medicine in Harry Potter banner image map.

Introduction page featuring a red background, introduction written in a white lettering script.  In the center is an image of an interior view of alchemy workshop showing the alchemist and many symbols important to alchemy, such as the rising sun, the moon, a lion and a serpent, a scale, a square, plants, a cross/caduceus, and most importantly, fire. A blue background with Who is Nicholas Flamel? written in white lettering script at the bottom. In the center is a head and shoulders, full face illustration of Nicholas Flamel. A green background with Magical Creatures and Magical Plants written in white lettering script at the bottom. In the center is a white unicorn A purple background with Classes at Hogwarts written in white lettering script at the bottom. In the center is an interior view of a pharmacy; showing the master, standing and pointing to shelves of apothecary jars, instructing the novice who is sitting at a table with an open book. Do Mandrakes Really Scream? Magic and Medicine in written in blue lettering with Harry Potter written in red lettering.

Introduction written in white script letters with a red background

An interior view of alchemy workshop showing the alchemist and many symbols important to alchemy, such as the rising sun, the moon, a lion and a serpent, a scale, a square, plants, a cross/caduceus, and most importantly, fire.

A decade ago, British writer J.K. Rowling published Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first in a series of seven books about a boy wizard who is the only known survivor of a "Killing Curse." A year later, the book was released in the United States with the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Ms. Rowling's books were soon breaking publishing records and "the boy who lived" became entrenched in the popular imagination.

In the books, Harry Potter attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There he makes friends, learns magic, and begins a seven-year battle with the evil Lord Voldemort — the wizard whose curse failed to kill Harry as a baby.

There is more to the Harry Potter series than a child hero or a fantasy adventure —many of the characters, plants, and creatures in Rowling’s stories are based in history, medicine, or magical lore. Death, evil, illness, and injury affect the characters of Harry Potter's imaginary world. In describing their experiences, Ms. Rowling has drawn on important works of alchemy and herbology. These works and other links to Harry Potter books are examined in this exhibition.