By Jessie Kuenzel
For the next few weeks, dedicated students will be sharing their home on the first floor of the Beatley Library with “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine,” a traveling exhibit making its way across the country from the National Library of Medicine.
The six-panel exhibit examines the roles of Renaissance-era alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy as it is incorporated into J.K. Rowling’s wizarding universe.
“Harry Potter’s World” comes to Simmons after a stay at an inpatient care facility in Lacrosse, Wisc.
Over the weekend, the Simmons Voice got in touch with Dawn Stahura, Simmons’ Zine and Liaison Librarian, and the woman in charge of bringing us this magical exhibit.
Simmons Voice: How did [‘Harry Potter’s World’] come to be at Simmons?
Stahura: I actually wrote a grant to have this traveling exhibit at another institution in 2010 and it was a tremendous success. Folks love Harry Potter and being able to see how the alchemy and other renaissance thinking influenced J.K. Rowling is awesome. I wrote to the National Library of Medicine to see if it was possible to get the traveling exhibit here at Simmons because I felt the community would benefit from having it here.
Voice: Why should Simmons students be excited about this?
Stahura: I think this is an exciting opportunity to see what kinds of research our own faculty and students are doing in terms of science, medicine, healing, and writing. Because Harry Potter encompasses so many different topics and fields of study, it is a natural tie-in. Plus, who doesn’t love the excuse to come to the library dressed in your finest Hogwarts attire!
I really hope folks will come to the Grand Opening event this Wednesday dressed in their House robes. I know I will be.
Voice: [What about this exhibit] do you feel is most interesting?
Stahura: I honestly love this exhibit. I’ve worked with it before, this time at Simmons making it the third time. The exhibit is not only beautiful but it is informative as well. One of the things I am most excited about is seeing how our community at Simmons interacts with the exhibit, what their overall impressions are. I am also looking forward to all of our presentations and events, especially the Horcrux Hunt and the wand making.
Voice: Are you personally a Harry Potter fan?
Stahura: I am a huge Harry Potter fan! I miss going to the midnight releases of the books dressed in my Gryffindor robe! Not only are the books well written, but the story is one that sticks with you over time, and the lexicon she invented has become part of our normal vocabulary. There are not many authors that can do this and do it well.
I think my favorite character has to be Hagrid. I always wished he was my dad. In terms of what house I belong in, I have been sorted into Gryffindor and Ravenclaw so I think I am on the cusp.
I wouldn’t mind being in Slytherin simply because I believe not every wizard in that house is bad.
Voice: If people are really interested in this subject, do you have any recommendations of other things (books, websites, places, etc.) they might like?
Stahura: The Beatley Library will have numerous displays of materials related to Harry Potter and the Renaissance. Be sure to stop by and check out the books!
Upcoming Related Events:
He Lives! Children’s Literature before and after Harry Potter, Wednesday, March 2 at 11 a.m. Learn about the history of school stories, Harry’s presence in fan fiction, and more in this panel discussion of Children’s Literature graduate students.
Recovery without Magic, Tuesday, March 15 at 4 p.m. Identify Muggle strategies for coping with traumatic events in this panel discussion led by faculty from the Schools of Social Work and Nursing and Health Sciences.
Horcrux Hunt, Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. Sign up for your respective house and join the Beatley Library and Student Life for a search for Horcruxes in the Beatley Library! Be on the lookout for the sign-up sheet as the event draws near!
And finally, the Library is pleased to partner with the Scott/Ross Center in sponsoring Dobby’s Sock Drive. Bring new socks or winter accessories to donate to Rosie’s Place, a shelter providing a safe and nurturing environment for poor and homeless women in Boston.