Witchcraft & Wizardry: 7 Works of Art from Our Harry Potter-Inspired Scavenger Hunts

Watson Adventures Wizard Hunts Harry Potter Art MuseumsHarry Potter is coming to America. This month sees the Broadway premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the fantastically inventive stage play that sends Harry’s younger son, Albus, to Hogwarts.

Of course, unless you’re one lucky Muggle—or you cast “Accio tickets!” more successfully than we did—you’ll have to wait a while to see this spell-binding show. Happily, you don’t have to wait to enjoy the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt, a Potter-inspired quest for wizards and witches and magical creatures in a museum near you. Today, let’s take a peek behind the scenes at some of our favorite wizardly pieces of art from museums around the country.

 

Witch-ay Woman

Watson Adventures Wizard Hunts Harry Potter Art Museums

Riding a ram with her broom in her hand, a witch and her dogs attack giant frogs and moth-winged goat-men. This is either a rough day in the Forbidden Forest or a preview of Freaky Beasts and How to Get Rid of Them. Either way, you’ll see A Witches’ Sabbath on the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt at the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

An Apple a Day

Watson Adventures Wizard Hunts Harry Potter Art Museums

A lovely spring day beside the Great Lake at Hogwarts is about to take a wicked turn. Never mind Crookshanks’ cousin there—it’s Nagini’s cousin (next to Eve’s head) that these two need to worry about. Or is it? On second thought, that looks less like a real snake than the world’s worst Animagus. You’ll witness The Fall of Man on the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt at the National Gallery of Art in D.C.

 

One Giant Noggin

Watson Adventures Wizard Hunts Harry Potter Art Museums

The enormous Olmec head enjoys some face time on the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt 2 at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. Based on one of only a few such huge sculptures from the ancient Mexican Olmec civilization, this guy has connections to the wizarding world as plain as the nose on his face. He could easily have been a giant in the employ of Voldemort, and he’d fit right in alongside the giant snake statues in the Chamber of Secrets. What many won’t notice is the big guy’s helmet—meant not for battle but likely for a primitive ball game. Ancient Quidditch, anyone?

 

Petrificus Totalus!

Watson Adventures Wizard Hunts Harry Potter Art Museums

In Perseus Confronting Phineus with the Head of Medusa, some jerk (Phineus) crashes legendary hero Perseus’ wedding. Luckily, Perseus has been toting around Medusa’s head as a trophy of his deeds, and Phineus gets a faceful of gorgon. As the wedding crasher turns to stone, we bet he’s thinking, “Wow, this is just like being Petrified by a basilisk in Harry Potter.” You can find Phineus facing his fate on the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt in Los Angeles.

 

The Junior D.A.

Watson Adventures Wizard Hunts Harry Potter Art Museums

Is this a first-years-only meeting of Dumbledore’s Army? A Care of Magical Creatures lesson on Bowtruckles? A broomstick-riding lesson to which an instructor somehow dumber than Professor Lockhart thought bare sticks would suffice instead of broomsticks? Whatever your interpretation, this scene from the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt at the Philadelphia Museum of Art has a certain innocent magic to it.

 

Divination Is for Suckers

Watson Adventures Wizard Hunts Harry Potter Art Museums

Hermione: “Yeahhh, listen, I’ve got a pile of Arithmancy homework, so I’mma bounce–”

Professor Trelawney: “I foresee a terrible fate in store for you! Death and misery at every turn! YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED!”

Hermione: “…how’s that cooking sherry treatin’ you, ‘professor’?”

(You’ll find The Fortune Teller, and much more, on the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.)

 

Drinkssss Are Sssserved

Watson Adventures Wizard Hunts Harry Potter Art Museums

We’ll bet you a year’s supply of Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum that 12 Grimmauld Place was full of creepy stuff like this. This is maybe the most Death Eater-y thing we’ve ever seen in a museum—in this case, on the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The creepiest part? Death Eaters are (sorry) fictional, but this snake pitcher exists in real life and is a thing someone wanted to keep in their home!

 

Join a Wizarding Hunt Today!

For more magical paintings, sculptures, and artifacts like these, find a Wizard School Scavenger Hunt near you. They’re available in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., along with two in New York—at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Museum of Natural History. These hunts are designed for kids and adults to enjoy together, but all-adult teams are invited to play as well.