day at the museum

On Thursday, I took leave from work to visit the Harry Potter: The Exhibition and Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal exhibitions at the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands with Ahgong. To see both exhibitions, we bought all-access passes, which were $24 each for Singapore residents.

We decided to see the Harry Potter exhibition first, and were made to join a queue just outside the entrance to the exhibition. Staff draped Hogwarts scarves on us (only Gryffindor and Slytherin colours available so we both chose the Gryffindor ones), and snapped a photo of us standing in front of a green screen. Finally we were allowed in!

A staff member in robes appeared and performed a sorting ceremony. Volunteers were requested to sit on a stool, and the staff member held the Sorting Hat above their heads, and a voice boomed out which house they were sorted into. Three excited children volunteered. Before they were sorted, each was asked which their favourite house was, and all of them got into their favourite houses (as if it could be any other way!). None of them mentioned Hufflepuff, and Ahgong commented that nobody wanted to be hardworking and loyal. :P

Suddenly there was a blaze of light, as a screen rose to reveal the magnificent Hogwarts Express, all black and gleaming. Then another staff member, also in robes, welcomed us ‘first years’ to Hogwarts. I thought that was a really amazing moment and had high hopes for the rest of the exhibition. Alas, it was not to be, for that was the most amazing part of the exhibition.

The actual exhibition was arranged according to theme, like the Gryffindor common room, Quidditch, Hogwarts subjects, places in Hogwarts, Dark Magic and the like. There were tons and tons of props and costumes from the movies. (They banned photography but you can see some photos here.) All very well and good for the diehard Potter fan who is obsessive over details, but way too static for the rest of us. Simply put, I felt the exhibits seriously lacked entertainment value. Although I must say I enjoyed pulling all the Mandrakes from their pots and hearing them shriek. But that was about it. :(

Anyway we worked through all the exhibits in less than an hour and found ourselves in the souvenir shop located at the end of the exhibition. Its shelves were stocked full of magical memorabilia. But oh, the prices! Scarves for $30, tees for $40, and (useless) wands for $75?! Ties were about $30, and Ahgong and I agreed that some of the local secondary schools’ ties were close enough substitutes, and much cheaper too! Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans were going at $6 for a small box, and Ahgong bought one.

At the shop, we also got to check the photo we took at the beginning. They’d removed the green background and photoshopped in various Harry Potter themed backgrounds. In the end, we did not buy any of the photos as I looked terrible and the price was even more terrible – $20 per photo!!! :O

After that we made our way to the Andy Warhol exhibition. Warhol is most famous for his colourful and repetitive prints, but this exhibition showcased his other artworks, like paintings and sculptures. I watched a video of him being interviewed by a reporter – he put on a poker face and kept giving monosyllabic answers. Also, the actress Warhol collaborated the most with was Elizabeth Taylor, and not Marilyn Monroe as I had previously thought.

As usual, no photography was allowed but there were special areas where you could pay to have your photos taken while posing with props.

I quite enjoyed this exhibition but I think Ahgong was completely bored by the end of it and eager to leave! :P

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