Narnia exhibit finds real-world issues behind fantasy

Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:10am EST
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By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters Life!) - A Philadelphia museum has taken a novel approach to teach children about science and history by using props from the Narnia movies based on the famous books of C.S. Lewis.

The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia's leading science museum, is hosting an exhibition of costumes, weapons and memorabilia that were used to make the films about a fantasy land called Narnia.

But the props aren't just a glimpse inside a movie set or the evocation of a fantasy land that has gripped children for almost 60 years. They have been used to focus the minds of young visitors on a range of environmental, scientific and historical issues that lie behind the items themselves.

"It's about recapturing imagination and rekindling curiosity," said Michael Flaherty, the president of Walden Media which produced the movies and advised the institute on the exhibition.

The show, which opens on November 28 and runs until April 2009, aims to stimulate visitors by taking the dual approach, he explained.


The icy throne, where the White Witch presided over a land where it was always winter but never Christmas, leads visitors to a series of panels on the human effects on global climate, and invites them to push a button to find out why the artificial snow falling on their shoulders is white.

Elsewhere, the show uses a quote about "felling forests and defiling streams" from a character in the Prince Caspian movie to encourage visitors to consider the rate of deforestation in the world today.   Continued...