In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the New-York Historical Society has just opened the British Library’s exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic. The exhibition, which debuted at the British Library in London in 2017, features materials related to the publication of the Harry Potter series—including letters exchanged between J.K. Rowling and U.S. publisher Arthur Levine; the earliest, glowing “review” of the manuscript for the first Harry Potter book (written by the eight-year-old daughter of Nigel Newton, chief executive of originating publisher Bloomsbury); and numerous cover and interior illustrations.

But the exhibition extends well beyond the world of Harry Potter, to include Rowling’s many historical influences and inspirations. On display are artifacts, rare books, documents, and magical objects, organized by rooms themed after the academic subjects taught at Hogwarts: “Potions and Alchemy,” “Herbology,” “Divination,” “Charms,” “Astronomy,” “Defense Against the Dark Arts,” and “Care of Magical Creatures.” In tandem with the exhibition, the Historical Society will hold numerous museum events, including writing classes, book clubs, art workshops, family days, and more. On October 25, illustrators Mary GrandPré and Brian Selznick, along with Scholastic creative director David Saylor, will appear in conversation at the Historical Society. PW recently took a tour of the exhibition, which runs until January 27, 2019.

Jamie Andrews, head of culture and learning at the British Library, welcomed attendees and spoke about the history of the exhibition, beginning with early, “tentative communication” with Bloomsbury back in 2015. He described how the exhibition is unique in that “it looks back hundreds, indeed thousands of years” into the mystical and folkloric past.

In an illustration by artist Jim Kay, Harry Potter presides over the exhibition.

Jim Kay’s portraits of Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall.

A broomstick belonging to 20th-century witch Olga Hunt (known as “Smelly Nelly,” because of her love for perfume).

The entrance to the Defense Against the Dark Arts room.

In the Potions and Alchemy room, the 1410 tombstone of Nicolas Flamel, which the alchemist (who was alleged to have discovered the philosopher’s stone) designed himself.

“Lady Fate,” an Italian fortune-telling doll.

In the Care of Magical Creatures room, a griffin’s shadow emerges.

John James Audubon’s “Snowy Owl, Study for Havell pl. 121,” (1829).

The British Library counts Harry Potter: A History of Magic as its most successful exhibition to date; time will tell if American muggles will flock as eagerly to the halls of history and magic—but all wands point to yes.