A few weeks ago my friend Cheech came to visit New York. We decided to plan a day trip together, including rushing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time on Broadway, meeting up with some other friends for dinner, and going to The Hunger Games Exhibition. As you might have noticed, this post is about the exhibition!
I'm not going to lie, I was really freaking excited about going to this exhibition. I'm a huge fan of The Hunger Games franchise - seeing The Hunger Games movie is what got me into reading and eventually becoming a blogger. That morning, I donned my victor t-shirt and did my "Girl On Fire" inspired makeup in anticipation of the exhibition. Let me tell you, The Hunger Games Exhibition was absolutely incredible and it changed my life. For real. I cried a little. It was amazing.
Before I get into actually talking about the exhibition, I'd like to apologize for my photos. They're not very good. While I could take photos in the exhibition, the lighting and the fact that I couldn't use flash made it difficult for me to get good photos on my phone. I also had the screen dimmed so it wouldn't be obnoxious in some of the darker rooms, so I couldn't tell until later that they photos were kind of blurry. These photos by no means do this exhibition justice - seeing it in person is an entirely different experience. These photos also don't represent the entire exhibition since I didn't feel like I really needed to document the entire thing. I think they actually sell a book that does that.
The first thing that happens when you go to the exhibition is that they offer to take a few posed pictures in front of a green screen. You can always say no, but posing for the photos doesn't cost you anything so you might as well. BUT LET ME TELL YOU, these photos become epic and you'll want to give them all your money - at least I did.
Once you enter the exhibition, there's an introductory video, with a commentary video from Elizabeth Banks, before the really cool stuff happens. This is one of the times I teared up during the exhibition - partially because I was so excited but also because Banks was talking about how The Hunger Games has actually affected the world. After the video, these fancy doors open up and you can step into District 12.
In the District 12 section of the exhibition, there's a replica of a few parts of the hob set up. I couldn't get a photo that showed it, but in the third photo below, the mockingjay pin that Katniss picks up at The Hob (aka the storyline in the movie vs the book) is in the bowl with the really bright light.
Throughout the entire exhibit there are a bunch of interactive parts, including polls where you drop a bead into how you would answer the question and can see how many other people picked the same as you did, an interactive map of the Districts vs a map of North America, and more. Below you can see Sloth finding out how well he would forage if he were in the games. There are also a bunch of signs talking about Suzanne Collins' inspiration for The Hunger Games around the exhibition. I had never looked into what inspired Collins to write The Hunger Games, so the signs about her inspirations were really interesting and informative for me.
Just like the tributes, the exhibition heads onto the Capitol train after the reaping. My favorite part of this was that there's a bench you can sit on and take a photo to look like you're riding on the train to the Capitol.
After "riding" the train, you reach the Capitol! The Capitol felt much less like a linear story than District 12 since there's action from all the books/movies there. From Katniss' fire dress from The Hunger Games, to the chariot from Catching Fire, to Cinna's designs for the mockingjay armor, there's a bunch of cool stuff to see in this section. One thing that really surprised me is that the red fire dress is actually super underwhelming in person. I don't know if it's the fit on the display mannequin or just that there were a lot of special effects in editing, but I was really surprised that it didn't look as pretty as it did on screen. Another interesting thing is that Katniss and Peeta's costumes for the Tribute Parade in Catching Fire are actually made of black and gold brocade. I mean, obviously I knew it wasn't really hot coals, but I just thought it would be a different texture/print. I like the brocade a lot though since it adds that elegance that Cinna had them portray in the parade.
Also featured in the Capitol is President Snow's house and some of the costumes from the Victory Tour Party in Catching Fire. I really liked this display because it just looked so pretty. I absolutely loved Katniss' dress for this party in the movie, so I was basically drooling over it when I saw it here.
The last big thing in the Capitol is the Captiol TV set up. There's a fun section where you can sit down and it looks like Ceasar Flickerman is actually interviewing you (note Sloth in the chair and the screen over the body that has a video of Ceasar's face on it). There was also a display of Peeta and Ceasar's costumes from when Peeta is doing the propaganda photos for the Capitol in Mockingjay.
The next part of the exhibition is also technically the Capitol, but this section focuses on the Games. There were a bunch of of the props and costumes from various parts of the games on display, including the training outfits for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire below, Finnick's Tribute Parade costume, a few of Haymitch's costumes, Effie's gold hair costume (aka when she says they should all have a gold token) below, and more. I would have included more photos of the costumes aforementioned, but my photos weren't very good.
Another costume featured was that of Plutarch Heavensbee's costume and figurines of a jabberjay, tracker jacker, and monkey from the arena. Besides the costumes and props, there was also an interactive section that looks like the table the gamemaker uses to change things in the games. On the table, there are screens you can use to read more about different aspects of gamemaking, and if you get the guide, you can simulate the arena from the Third Quarter Quell. I couldn't get mine to work, but other people seemed to have success with this. This area also has an interactive area where you can learn some fight choreography and learn how to tie some knots.
After the Capitol, the last main area is District 13. I loved the way they set up the figures for District 13! Sloth wanted to jump right up there with them and throw his three finger salute, although he realized that when he raises his hand it's always a three finger salute. There were a bunch of other things from District 13, like Prim's nurse costume, some armor, Beetee's desk (below), and part of the room where all the food and plants were grown in District 13. The coolest thing in this area was that you could make your own propos! While it's mostly just picking out a few clips, you pose for a picture to add to the end and the propos shows pictures of a bunch of characters standing in front of the mockingjay symbol and then you. I was really disappointed that I didn't have the option to save the photo / buy it or something.
The photos below aren't actually both in District 13 but it seemed kind of appropriate to put them together. The first photo, if you noticed the scarf, is from Catching Fire and is on display in District 12. The second photo is from when Katniss and Gale leave the shelter of District 13 (in the movie) and Katniss eventually sings "Hanging Tree." I thought putting these two photos together was kind of interesting because although Katniss is wearing the same color coat (possibly even the exact same coat), Gale's coat is much darker.
The last part of the exhibition is THE PART YOU'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR. Before this point in the exhibition, my friend Cheech was like, "I came here and I didn't even get to see the wedding dress." Of course, I knew the wedding dress was on display because I had casually seen pictures of the actors near it, but I didn't expect to be quite like this. On the way out of District 13, you have to round a pretty sharp corner and you can't really see what's coming until you're there. It's at this point that you behold the absolute beauty of the wedding dress because no photos can do it justice. Ugh, this room. This room was the other part where I cried a little.
The room shows the evolution of Katniss - from her hunting costume in The Hunger Games, to the wedding dress and transformed mockingjay dress in Catching Fire, to her mockingjay armor from Mockingjay. In a small case you can also see the mockingjay pin. This was absolutely stunning - the way the room is lit and the inspiration moments from the film being played on screens in the room made it so breathtaking. (Note: There aren't actually flower petals falling around the dress in the photo below - it's one of the overlays you can use on the guide, and I thought it looked really pretty with the dress.)
And so the exhibition is done! After prying my eyes away from that majestic dress, I was surprised to see that before the gift shop, there was another green screen. You want to know what they do there? THEY PUT YOU IN THE MOVIE. For real. Someone will give you a cape and tell you what to do before and as you film. The video is pretty short, but it follows you as you are the tribute from District 12 going into the tribute parade at the Quarter Quell, flaming outfit and all. It was especially funny because Cheech and I kept laughing because the woman giving us directions thought Sloth was a koala. I would show you my movie but I'm pretty sure the file is too large to upload here and Lionsgate actually owns it since a lot of the footage is from the movie. After you film the video, you're given the option to buy the film, as well as the three photos from before the exhibition and a photo taken in the filming area. I told them to take all my money. When I got my pictures and movie (they told me to go look in the gift shop and they'd bring it to me after they printed the photos), I was super impressed by the presentation. The woman handed me a little black paper bag with the mockingjay symbol large on it. Inside the bag, was a pretty little box with a The Hunger Games Exhibition flashdrive inside (aka my movie) as well as a picture book that had some film photos and my photos in the sleeves next to the pages where it related. I SHALL NOW SHOW YOU MY GLORIOUS PHOTOS, although they're slightly less glorious because my scanner isn't great.
Obviously the last thing after that is the gift shop. My main goal here was the Buttercup stuffed animal because I had seen online that there would be one and I love stuffed animals (hence Stuffed Animal Saturday). This is where I once again said, "take all my money," and spent my money on random things that said The Hunger Games The Exhibition on them. I ended up spending less that I thought I would since I told myself I could not get any of the clothes, but in total with what I spent on the photos/movie, it was a little more than most people would deem socially acceptable to spend on Hunger Games stuff. I do what I want.
So, that's the exhibition! Honestly, I think that if you have the opportunity to go to this exhibition, you should. I absolutely loved every second of it - I spent two hours there and I definitely could have spent more time there to thoroughly read all the different boards and listen to all the commentary leisurely. The tickets are a little pricy at face value, but it was so incredibly well put together and I loved it so much. A must see for fans of The Hunger Games! Seriously though - go buy your ticket now. You need to go.
Will you be seeing The Hunger Games The Exhibition?
Let us know in the comments!