Singapore Philatelic Museum presents Collecting Magic: From Stamps to Wands, and all Potterheads and Muggles alike are invited to experience this magical Harry Potter exhibition. Check out one-of-a-kind stamp collections while conjuring up your very own patronus – there’s something for the whole family!
This year seems to have delivered a bumper crop for all Harry Potter fans, also known collectively as Potterheads. It began with the news of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a stage production currently playing at the Palace Theatre in London. While that was exciting, those of us here in Singapore were disappointed to learn that despite the release of the screenplay in book form, we might not get to see it played out on the big screen.
But then news of a consolation prize broke – not one, not two, but five films in J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts movie franchise to look forward to. In fact, the first, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be premiering in Singapore cinemas on 17 November. With the school holidays around the corner, there’s no better time than the present to whet your Muggle appetites at the Singapore Philatelic Museum.
Before you start thinking, “But it’s just stamps!”, hang on to your cloaks. We checked it out for you and you’re about to be surprised…
Enter the Chamber of Secrets
It was truly a magical experience exploring the Museum yesterday. It was opening day of Collecting Magic: From Stamps to Wands. This one-of-a-kind themed interactive exhibition has been specially designed by the Museum for fans – both young and old – of the Harry Potter series of books and movies.
(See also: Childhood Tales: Now & Then)
While the exhibition is located on the second floor of the Museum, the magic actually begins as you head up the stairs. Don’t be surprised when you get greeted by talking and moving portraits! It’s just like in the stories, where Sir Cadogan and the Fat Lady greet the students when they return to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry each semester.
The exhibition begins much like the first book does, at “4 Privet Drive”, in this case replaced quite aptly with “Coleman Street”, the address of the Museum.
Although the action, as all Potterheads know, only truly began with a letter Harry received, accepting him into Hogwarts. Here, we get to see the publisher’s acceptance letter that started it all for Rowling.
Meet Dumbledore’s Army
Exclusive to this exhibit is a framed set of signatures of the leading cast of the Harry Potter movies. See the penmanship of Harry Potter/Daniel Radcliffe, Ron Weasley/Rupert Grint, Hermione Granger/Emma Watson and more.
Of course, the exhibit brings together unique postage stamp collections from around the world – Singapore, Taiwan, the USA and of course, the UK. Each brings to mind familiar scenes, even while introducing visitors to trivia we may not have known before. Can you guess which country issued the first licensed Harry Potter stamps in the world?
Also on show are a huge selection of memorabilia, courtesy of local collectors who have kindly loaned their precious collectibles for this exhibition. These run the gamut from a drool-worthy collector’s edition disc set to replicas of Harry’s wand and The Marauder’s Map.
You’ll also see a complete set of the first edition of the paperbacks, familiar to many of us. We learnt that this was contributed by the Curator of the Museum, herself an avid Potterhead!
Another unique exhibit involves handwritten postcards sent to the Museum by Potterheads from all over the world. They are members of a global postcard exchange project called Postcrossing – click on this link to learn more about their cool Potter-themed endeavour!
The parts of the exhibition that will most be a hit with the young – and young-at-heart – are easy to pinpoint. Much like at King’s Cross Station in London, there is the Harry Potter trolley at Platform 9¾. This one, however, even comes with a fluffy Hedwig – Potter’s special pet owl! Once you’ve ‘boarded’ the ‘train’, you’ll also get to change the scenery and imagine yourself on that journey to Hogwarts.
Another fun photo op will see you mounting a broomstick and taking off at the Quidditch World Cup stadium. Back on earth, don’t forget to check out the Lego exhibit.
A Singaporean fan painstakingly used the little bricks to build the entire Gringotts Wizarding Bank. But that’s not all! She also created a whole series of other familiar locations in Diagon Alley and beyond. You have to see it to really appreciate the detail that went into it!
We don’t want to give much more away, because you should really experience it all for yourself, but we’ll leave you with one last little sneak peek. Together with the other interactive multimedia features like the moving portraits, it was designed by a team of wizards, we mean students, from Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Interactive & Digital Media. Be a wizard for a moment and wave your magic wand at the screen. Magic will happen and yes, if you concentrate hard enough, you may get to reveal your very own patronus!
Head down to the Singapore Philatelic Museum to get your fill of Harry Potter magic because Collecting Magic: From Stamps to Wands certainly gets our stamp of approval!
Dates: 2 Nov 2016 – June 2017
Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 7pm
Entry to the exhibition is free
Usual museum admission charges apply: Free for Singaporeans and PRs, otherwise $8 per adult and $6 per child (3-12 years)
Address: 23-B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807