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Harry Potter Exhibit at Hollywood Museum: The L.A. Weekly Review

The Hollywood Museum has some fun props and paraphernalia from the Harry Potter films, but the scope of the exhibit is overstated.
The Hollywood Museum has some fun props and paraphernalia from the Harry Potter films, but the scope of the exhibit is overstated.
Kevin O'Keeffe

To paraphrase Draco Malfoy: "So it's true. Harry Potter has come to the Hollywood Museum."

Known for preserving showbiz magic year-round, the Hollywood Museum, located in the Historic Max Factor Building in the heart of Hollywood, added the treasures and trinkets of a boy wizard last Wednesday.

The exhibit of Potter film memorabilia is about the size of Harry's cupboard under the stairs in his childhood home, but has mild pleasures a diehard fan would enjoy. For others, however, the pieces will likely pale in comparison to those in the museum's more elaborate exhibits.

The exhibit includes items like the glasses Daniel Radcliffe wore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
The exhibit includes items like the glasses Daniel Radcliffe wore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Kevin O'Keeffe

The pieces, assembled from the private collection of Potter superfan Christopher Knoll, who runs an event production company, include Harry and Professor Dumbledore's costumes, Harry's broom from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry's glasses and two wands.

The broom in particular is incredibly detailed -- a quality reserved for Harry's broom, according to Hollywood Museum President and Founder Donelle Dadigan. Other brooms were mass-produced -- only Harry's was reinforced with metal fiberglass to make filming flying scenes less dangerous.

Along with the broom, the wands are great get -- any young adult who grew up dreaming about his or her letter from Hogwarts to arrive will be impressed. There's also charm in seeing an iconic prop like Harry's glasses up close.

These items are standouts in a very limited collection, however. The only other pieces on display are two books, a feather quill, two wand boxes and the shoes worn by Radcliffe and other Potter stars Rupert Grint and Hermione Granger. Not the shoes from set, though -- the shoes they wore when getting their handprints in front of TCL (formerly Grauman's) Chinese Theatre. Odder still, the shoes are in an entirely different part of the museum -- totally missable if you aren't aware.

Dadigan described the exhibit to L.A. Weekly as an attempt to reduce the grand scale of the Harry Potter films to an "intimate" space. "We want it to be more accessible," Dadigan said.

Compared to other exhibits in the museum, however, the Potter display pales. Located on the "dungeon" bottom floor of the museum, the exhibit has to compete for eyes with the set of Silence of the Lambs, as well as other, lower-profile displays with more pieces. It isn't difficult to overlook the exhibit when around so many other items -- not what one would expect from such a high-profile acquisition.

Even more perplexing is the museum's insistence on hiding some of the most interesting parts of the exhibit. Signed blueprints of Hogwarts, which Dadigan confirmed the museum had acquired, are not yet on display. Additionally, one of the wand boxes has actress Maggie Smith's signature on the bottom -- where it cannot be viewed.

So though the exhibit may be "accessible," it isn't worth the $15 price of admission for adults -- except for die-hard Potterheads.

The Harry Potter exhibit at the Hollywood Museum is on display permanently at the Historic Max Factor Building, 1660 N. Highland Avenue, Hlywd. (323) 464-7776, TheHollywoodMuseum.com.

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TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

323-461-3331

www.chinesetheatres.com

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The Hollywood Museum at the Historic Max Factor Building

1660 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

323-464-7776

www.thehollywoodmuseum.com


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