Blind Harry Potter fans can enjoy magic of new exhibition

Post date: 
Thursday, 30 November 2017
Image of the train from Harry Potter

Discover the spellbinding traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories at the British Library’s latest exhibition.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic showcases items from J.K. Rowling’s and the British Library’s collections that are based on the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Launched to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the exhibition runs until 28 February 2018.

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Blind and partially sighted visitors can also experience the magic due to 14 of the exhibits being made into tactile images with descriptive text in braille, including:
  • an annotated sketch of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by J.K. Rowling, complete with the giant squid that lives in the lake
  • a drawing by J.K. Rowling of the six stages of the entrance to Diagon Alley
  • original artwork by Jim Kay of Fawkes the phoenix
  • an Arabic illuminated manuscript showing male and female mandrakes
  • a page from an Italian manuscript showing a basilisk.
RNIB partnered with the British Library to develop these, which are available alongside the Library’s large print guides.

Michelle Lee, from RNIB’s Tactile Map and Images team, says: "It was wonderful to work with the British Library to help to make sure that blind and partially sighted Harry Potter fans could enjoy their wonderful new exhibition."

The State of Museum Access Report by VocalEyes revealed that only 18 per cent of museums publicise information for their exhibits in large print and only nine per cent in braille.
Michelle continues: “It’s important that people with sight loss ask for accessible information when they visit venues, otherwise organisers won’t think there’s a need for it.”

More about RNIB’s Tactile Images and Maps team

The Tactile Images and Maps team has worked with transport networks, museums and art galleries, and parks and leisure venues across the UK. The team develop tactile maps, signs and information such as booklets, large tactile and visual maps, and accessible signage.
Here are some of the top places people with sight loss can enjoy thanks to their work:
  • Galleries in the British Museum
  • Museum of Liverpool
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Cutty Sark
  • Kensington Palace.

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