Aug 2, 2012

[Museums] Harry Potter: the Exhibition (Marina Bay Sands)

My brother with his wizard swag
Earlier this month, my family had a big trip to Singapore and one of the sights that my brother and I enjoyed was Harry Potter: the Exhibition at the ArtScience Museum. And it was certainly quite the experience as fans of the series or even just for those who enjoyed the movies on a more casual basis. After all, we're talking about the result of over 8 movies released over the course of 10 years. So yeah, that's a pretty big chunk of our cultural Harry Potter geeks anyway.

Unfortunately, the exhibit was one of those, well, somewhat annoying ones that don't allow guests to take photos or videos. Although given the quality of the exhibit and what a magical experience it all was, I can certainly understand the need to protect their intellectual property and to keep the exhibit, um, magical. And that is pretty much the best word to describe it.

I've scraped the internet for select photos of the exhibit to give you a taste of things and to help provide incentive for you to go, as it were. Harry Potter: the Exhibition runs until September 30, 2012 (at the time of this posting).

Gryffindor Dormitory
Now the first thing to remember when visiting the Harry Potter exhibition is the option provided for audio guides at the entrance of the exhibit. This may seem like a frivolous expense but if you want a personal tour of the exhibit with some of the key personalities who made the movie possible, then you know it's more than worth it. The audio guide is presented as a wand of sorts that a dial pad. You key in the number related to certain exhibits and you'll get to hear some commentary - thus turning the whole tour into a sort of DVD special feature.

The exhibit is divided into several themed rooms in an effort to group like movie artifacts together. Starting with a brief Sort Hat ceremony at the entrance, you eventually find yourself in famous locations from the movies such as the Gryffindor Common Room or even in the Forbidden Forest. And in each location you'll get to see costumes, props and even statues used for CGI modeling.

Quidditch Display
While most of the exhibits are secured behind cordons and glass cases, some a relatively interactive. You'll be able to try pulling up mandrakes if you dare or you can see how many quaffles you can get into the Quidditch rings. And these are certainly interesting elements to the exhibit that make it more than just a series of static displays.

The level of detail and craftsmanship that went into all of the costumes, props and other exhibit pieces is pretty phenomenal - they really went all out in creating this magical world. And if you did get the audio guide, then you'll also get to hear more about the challenge of individual artifacts, which I found to be rather lovely bonus to our tour. Although there were points when I wish I could have reached into particular cases and examined some of the prop pieces more closely, but you can only get so much in a museum, of course.

Hagrid's Hut
I have to give credit to the ArtScience Museum for putting up another fantastic exhibit. And while I'm sure a lot of it was carefully controlled by Warner Brothers in terms of how it is to be executed, my many visits to the museum also tell me they know their stuff in terms of making these dreams a reality.

Walking through the exhibit did make me feel like I was visiting the Hogwarts grounds myself. I got to sit in Hagrid's chair and appreciated just how large it was and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end as I entered the Forbidden Forest and later on the cemetery. And yes, I felt my heart soar when we entered the Great Hall and saw the little banquet set for all of us.

The Horcruxes
All in all, it may seem rather expensive but Harry Potter: the Exhibition is a great way to celebrate your love for the franchise without needing to travel to England or the US. And for Filipino residents, you known that you don't need a Visa to visit Singapore. With airline fares as low as they are, I'm sure you'll be able to map out a trip sooner or later - but hopefully while the exhibition is still on-going. Obviously, I felt this exhibit rated a solid 5 out of 5 without a doubt!

Oh, and I must warn you about the Gift Shop. Naturally as you exit the exhibit, you'll find yourself in a room filled with a lot of Harry Potter merchandise. And this is definitely something that you need to budget for in addition to the ticket fee itself since they have some GREAT stuff up for sale. And after an experience as unique as this one, you'll definitely want to be able to buy a souvenir or two to mark the occasion.

Enhanced by Zemanta