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Harry Potter: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine: Welcome

A guide to resources and events related to the National Library of Medicine traveling exhibit.

What's in This Guide

In this library guide for the Library hosted exhibit of Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine, from the National Library of Medicine, you will find:


  • Exhibit
  • Book displays
  • Movie
  • Big Harry Hullaballoo!
  • Lecture: Magic, Illusion, and Ghosts: The Marketing of Science and Psychotropics
  • Harry Potter trivia contest
  • First Saturday Science: Harry Potter Lab

Investigating Nature

  • Educational resources provided by the NLM
  • Digitized renaissance herbals
  • e-Books
  • Collection of search terms 

How Magic Became Science

  • Educational resources provided by the NLM
  • Web sites
  • e-Books
  • Open access articles
  • Collection of search terms 

Magic, Science, and Ethics

  • Educational resources provided by the NLM
  • e-Books
  • Collection of search terms


  • Search library reference resources
  • Collection of search terms

The Exhibit

January 13, 2014 - February 23, 2014

Metropolitan State University Library, First Floor

645 E 7th St., St. Paul, MN 55106

“There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words.”  

                                                                                                                        - Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J. K. Rowling

 An exhibition developed and produced by the Exhibition Program at the National Library of Medicine

In 1997, British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter and a literary phenomenon was born.  Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities.  Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy.  Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, the seven-part series examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power.  

This exhibition, using materials from the National Library of Medicine, explores Harry Potter’s world, its roots in Renaissance science, and the ethical questions that affected not only the wizards of Harry Potter, but also the historical thinkers featured in the series.

Harry Potter’s World will tour around the United States beginning in Spring 2009.

Please visit us online at

This exhibition is brought to you by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

Curated by Elizabeth J. Bland.