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Potter-Themed Activities Sure to Please Magicians, ‘Muggles’ Alike

A Harry Potter display adorns the vestibule of the Madigan Library at Pennsylvania College of Technology.With a mix of fun and informational events on campus and in other community locations including music, movies and fanciful faculty presentations Pennsylvania College of Technology will be part of a “Harry Potter’s World” exhibit from Feb. 13 through March 26.

The majority of Penn College activities will take place in Madigan Library, where a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, officially opens the exhibit. The public “Muggles (nonmagical folks), witches and wizards” is invited to visit the displays while enjoying live music and light refreshments.

From 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, a public lecture on “Harry Potter’s Herbs: Fact and Fantasy” will be held in the library’s second-floor reading loft. Barb Jarmoska, of Freshlife, will give a presentation about the medicinal properties of herbs mentioned in the Harry Potter books and films. Michelle A. Briggs, an assistant professor of biology at Lycoming College, will discuss herbs that have deadly consequences when used.

On Tuesday, Feb. 22, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., William J. Astore, professor of history at Penn College, will present another open lecture “Harry Potter and the Magic of Technology” in the reading loft.

“Today, technology allows us to fly through the air, to communicate at the speed of light with millions of people simultaneously, to produce a cornucopia of food, to peer billions of years into the past, to explore the deepest depths of our oceans, even to decode our own genetic codes, the blueprint of life itself,” Astore said.

While all of that seems magical, he explained, it all is made possible through technology.

“Technology is wondrous; technology is amazing’ technology is surprising, shocking, illuminating. Technology is, in a word, magical,” Astore added. “There are no Muggles among us, for all of us carry our own little bit of magic, whether it be in the form of our technologies or of our imaginations, which enable us to see and create new possibilities. Together, we will discuss the magical nature of technologies and, thus, the magical nature of humanity itself.”

During the week of March 4, the School of Hospitality’s Sixth Annual Cake Competition will have Harry Potter as its theme. After the cakes are judged in the Thompson Professional Development Center, they will be moved to the library for the remainder of the week.

Lynne H. Koskie, library acquisitions manager, previews upcoming events during the exhibit's Feb. 13 opening reception. (Photo by Michael S. Fischer, student photographer)A number of ongoing activities are offered in the library, including Potter jigsaw puzzles for leisurely moments and a display “Muggles Can Do Magic, Too!” in the vestibule. How is Penn College like Hogwarts, the wizarding school attended by Harry and his friends? Check out the display for answers, as well as books (real and fictional), wands, potions and other Potter paraphernalia of interest whether or not you are a fan of the series.

The first six movies in the Potter canon are being shown free of charge at 2 p.m. Saturdays at the James V. Brown Library in downtown Williamsport. Remaining presentations are “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (Jan. 29), “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (Feb. 5, and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (Feb. 12).

Music from the Potter films will be in the repertoire for the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, which will perform “Hollywood Connections” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at the Community Arts Center.

The most recent movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I,” will be shown for members of the campus community at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 13, and Wednesday, March 16, and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, in the Bush Campus Center TV Lounge.

Students also are invited to “Ron Weasley Chess Night” on Thursday, March 24; and a Potter-themed game night co-sponsored by the Gamers’ Guild and the Association for Computing Machinery at 5 p.m. Friday, March 18, in Madigan Library, with a first prize of a $50 Best Buy gift card.

The library exhibit will close Saturday, March 26, after Penn College’s Open House, an excellent opportunity to learn more about the college, its academic “degrees that work” and its facilities.

For more about Madigan Library, visit online or call 570-327-4523.

For more information about Penn College, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Six-Banner Traveling Exhibition Part of ‘Potter’ CelebrationSix-panel traveling exhibit explores popular fiction's factual roots. (Photo by Michael S. Fischer, student photographer)The Madigan Library will host a six-banner traveling exhibition Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine from Feb. 13 through March 26.

The exhibit, using materials from the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, was created to explore the link between Potter’s world and its roots in Renaissance magic, science and medicine. It was curated by Elizabeth J. Bland at NLM’s History of Medicine Division, with consultant Mark A. Waddell, and contributions from Stephen Greenberg, Michael J. North and E. Dever Powell.

British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter in 1997 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.

The National Library of Medicine’s Harry Potter website provides educators at all levels with teaching resources including lesson plans, online activities and bibliographies.

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