Magic at the Museum

Written by Eesha Pendharkar

By Eesha Pendharkar
BU News Service

With the film “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” premiering tomorrow, excitement and anticipation have reached new levels. Harry Potter fans are desperately waiting for the chance to see the Wizarding World once again after five long years.

For all the Muggles in Boston, Harvard’s Museum of Natural History is offering an opportunity to find some of the best-known beasts from Nov. 12 all the way through Jan. 8. If you wish to find the magical creatures before Newt Scamander gets his hands on them, head over to the museum and participate in the scavenger hunt.

“Me and the staff are huge Harry Potter fans,” said Jane Pickering, executive director of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, as she talked about the planning of the event. “We found that the magical creatures relate to stories from different cultures.”

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More than 2,000 people took part in the scavenger hunt over the past weekend. Boston College even offers its students free access to the event with their student IDs.

When the event began on Saturday morning, people sporting Gryffindor and Hufflepuff gear quickly appeared, excited to start their hunt for the beasts. Participants were given clues to help guide them to where the creatures were hiding in the Museum of Natural History and the Peabody Museum. A magical prize awaited those skilled enough to find them all.

The trail led through the Natural History Museum’s Great Mammal Hall and the Romer Hall of Vertebrate Paleontology. The most popular magical creatures, like unicorns and acromantulas, were part of the hunt, as well as beasts like the Thunderbird and Nundu which are exclusive to “Fantastic Beasts.”

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“Dragons aren’t real,” Gina Burke told her son 7-year-old son William. “But in Harry Potter they are,” she quickly added, bringing a smile back to his face. “Will is a huge fan. He’s really looking forward to watching the new movie.”

Those who went to the scavenger hunt on Sunday afternoon met the Harvard Quidditch team.

“There were kids who loved learning the game of Quidditch from the Harvard Horntails team when they made a guest appearance,” said Mary Blue Magruder, director of public affairs for the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture.

“We’re very happy with the response so far,” Pickering said. “(The scavenger hunt) enables us to encourage people to visit more than one museum.”

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