Fantastic beasts at London’s Natural History Museum

Source: AFP Published: 2020/12/9 18:13:40

A staff member poses with a dinosaur skeleton at the Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London on Monday. Photo: AFP

Fans of J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts will already be familiar with nifflers, occamy and demiguise while unicorns, dragons and mermaids have been the stuff of legends for centuries.

Now London's Natural History Museum has scoured its vast collection for an exhibition to celebrate strange beasts in all their forms, including those created by the Harry Potter author.

Fantastic Beasts. The Wonder of Nature is a collaboration between the museum, the BBC and Warner Bros, and comes as the venue reopens after months of coronavirus-enforced closure.

The show promises to plunge visitors straight into a world well known to Harry Potter fans, where they learn about the "magizoologist" Newt Scamander, the leading authority on fantastic beasts.

The 2001 book was turned into a hit fantasy film franchise starring Eddie Redmayne, whose costume also features in the exhibition, which runs from Wednesday to August 2021.

The head of conservation at the Natural History Museum, Lorraine Cornish, said curators looked at the characteristics of Rowling's inventions and compared them with their own collection.

Then from a long-list, they honed the exhibits down to more than 100 specimens that appear in the show.

"By taking some of these fantastic beasts that people around the world have enjoyed watching on film or reading in the books, we've been able to highlight some of the fantastic beasts that actually exist in the real world today," she said.

"I think it will really give the audience an extra insight into the amazing world of nature."

A total of 12 fantastic beasts from the world of wizardry are analyzed, which the museum hopes will help transform its dusty image and pique the curiosity of newer, younger audiences.

The venue has indicated the exhibition will eventually go on tour to a number of countries and regions.


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