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Health Sciences Library Bringing Magic of Harry Potter to Las Cruces

The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Health Sciences Library is currently hosting the traveling exhibit, “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance, Science, Magic, and Medicine.” This exhibition is brought to you by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. The six banner exhibit covering potions, monsters, herbology, magical creatures, fantastic beasts, and immortality will be on display at the BCOM campus from April 13 – May 16, with the exception of April 19-22 when it will be on display at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, and May 5-8, when it will visit the NMSU Zuhl Library.

According to the National Library of Medicine website, “Although a fantasy story, the Harry Potter book series features magic that is based partially 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 series examines ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power.”

In addition to the traveling exhibition, the BCOM Health Sciences Library has partnered with the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, the NMSU Library, and the NMSU Astronomy Department to offer six-weeks of related Harry Potter programming and events for all ages throughout April and May.

The NLM’s traveling exhibits are highly coveted by libraries and educational institutions around the country. BCOM Library Director Erin Palazzolo said, “We thought this would be a fun way for our students and faculty to do some community outreach. The programming, geared toward participants of all ages, includes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) experiences and also helps promote literacy. We hope this will help us strengthen ties in the community.”

The kick-off event will be held on the evening of April 13 on the BCOM campus with a number of events scheduled for the following six weeks, including a Harry Potter weekend at Thomas Branigan Memorial Library presented with funding provided by the New Mexico Library Foundation. All programs are free and open to the public.

Visit for the latest information and schedule of events.


“Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance, Science, Magic, and Medicine”
Schedule of Public Events

April 13, 6pm-9pm
Kick-Off Event at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, 3501 Arrowhead Drive

Please join us for an evening of well-mannered frivolity. Starting at 6pm, we will welcome guests to explore the exhibition with light hor d’oeuvres, sorting activities, games, and a costume contest. Contest open to all ages. Come dressed as your favorite Harry Potter character.

Guest Speaker: Dr. William Eamon, Regents Professor, Emeritus, NMSU @ 7pm
“Harry Potter’s Revenge: What Does Modern Science Owe Magic?”

Harry Potter’s education at Hogwarts was grounded in a long tradition of medieval magic, which was handed down from generation to generation in esoteric texts, often written in Latin, that instructed would-be wizards in the principles of magic. A constant theme in the magic tradition was how to manipulate the invisible forces, or “occult qualities,” that were buried within nature. The goal of modern science—to discover the secrets of nature—is similar to that of magic, though its methods are very different. What does modern science owe the esoteric tradition of magic? This lecture will explore the surprising connections between medieval magic and the origins of modern science, and the similar ethical dilemmas raised by both magic and science.

April 18, noon-1pm
Lunch & Learn at BCOM Health Sciences Library, 3501 Arrowhead Drive

Guest Speaker: Dr. Gaylene Fasenko, Associate Professor, Companion Animals, NMSU
“Expecto PAWtronum! Summoning the Superhero Service Dog!”

How does a dog go from ordinary creature to magical beast? What is the journey these superheroes take to lead people out of the darkness and into the light? Come learn about these fantastic beasts and where to find them.

April 19-22
Harry Potter Weekend at Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave.

Friday, April 20
10:30am-11:00am: Rhythm Magic for ages 0-5
3:30pm-4:30pm: Alchemy Lab for ages 8-10

Saturday, April 21
1pm-2pm: Hawks Aloft Harry Potter Owl Presentation for Children
2pm-3pm: What Did Hedwig Eat? Owl Pellet Dissection for ages 8-12
2:30pm-3:30pm: Hawks Aloft Harry Potter Owl Presentation for Teens/Adults
3pm-5pm: Makerspace Magic for ages 10-18

Come meet some of the live, non-releasable owls from Hawks Aloft, Inc. (HAI). HAI staff will talk about each owl’s natural history, fascinating fun facts, and discuss which owls they closely resemble in the Harry Potter novels. Owl artifacts like feathers, talons, bones, and skulls will also be used to get an up-close look at owl anatomy/physiology.

Sunday, April 22
1pm-3pm: Harry Potter themed movie showing

May 2, noon-1pm
Lunch & Learn at BCOM Health Sciences Library, 3501 Arrowhead Drive

Guest Speaker: Sarah M. Allison, Special Collections Librarian, NMSU Library
Harry Potter vs. Rita Skeeter: The Daily Prophet in the age of “Fake News”

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth installment of the series, The Daily Prophet reporter Rita Skeeter interviews the contestants of the Triwizard’s Tournament and writes articles about those at Hogwarts, including Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, Hagrid, and Madame Maxime, which are full of half-truths and fabrications. These articles develop fear among the wizarding community and help discredit Harry when he speaks the truth about Lord Voldemort’s return. Join us for a discussion about the role of The Daily Prophet in the Harry Potter series and the transmission of information to a small community. Additionally, we will move outside of the world of “Fake News” and talk about the adaption to film of the fourth Harry Potter book.

May 9, noon-1pm
Lunch & Learn at BCOM Health Sciences Library, 3501 Arrowhead Drive

Guest Speaker: Rachel Galan, Educator/Interpreter at Caddo Mounds SHS, Texas Historical Commission
Caddo and Cauldrons: Wild Connections

The indigenous voice may be muted or lost at complex and controversial cultural/heritage sites. Barriers to interpreting these sites can be bridged through collaboration and co-creation. This process necessitates a long-term investment by both the sites and stakeholders. Lessons learned from this experience can serve as a framework for developing an interpretive strategy that embraces cultural diversity and inclusion. Join Educator/Interpreter Rachel Galan to learn about how the staff at Caddo Mounds State Historic site are working with the Caddo people to strengthen ties, guide projects, and create an authentic visitor experience. Then, we will switch gears and delve into the universal heritage of wise women healers and the plants that are represented in archeology, history, folk tradition, modern herbalism, and the world of Harry Potter.

May 5-May 8
Traveling Exhibit on Display at NMSU Zuhl Library, 2911 McFie Circle

May 11, 9pm-11pm
Harry Potter Astronomy Open House at NMSU Campus Observatories, 3415 Williams Ave

Hands on astronomy presentation with tie-ins from the Harry Potter series and mythology behind the constellations. Visitors will be able to use telescopes to view constellations and objects.