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NLM Introduces Two New Exhibitions

The National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce the launch of two new exhibitions; “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine,” and “Everyday Miracles: Medical Imagery in Ex-Votos.”

“Harry Potter’s World” explores the plants, animals, and magic featured in the Harry Potter book series and their roots in Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science. The exhibition incorporates the works of several 15- and 16th-century thinkers mentioned in Harry Potter and looks at topics such as alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy, as well as the ethical issues faced by both the fictitious characters from the novels and the historical figures that influenced them. This exhibition runs through December 31, 2008.

“Everyday Miracles” examines the relationship between faith and healing as expressed in personal devotional painting from Italy and Mexico called ex-votos. These small religious paintings that were commissioned by the faithful for perceived “healing miracles” were hung in community churches as testimony to their devotion and gratitude. The exhibition also showcases Spanish colonial medical texts, which are displayed in the History of Medicine Division Reading Room. This exhibition runs through January 31, 2009.

Both exhibitions, as well as accompanying texts from the History of Medicine Division’s collections, can be viewed in the History of Medicine Division Reading Room and the lobby of Building 38. For more information about the new exhibitions, please call 301-594-1947 or email, or visit their websites at and

Sign language interpreters will be provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate should contact Erika Mills by phone at 301-594-1947 or by email at, and/or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

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