Exhibiting Shakespeare: First Folio Exhibition Sites Announced

Exhibiting Shakespeare: First Folio Exhibition Sites Announced

In July of 2014 the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. announced a groundbreaking plan to send 18 copies of their 82 First Folios of Shakespeare’s works around the country to each state in the Union, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. The library took hundreds of applications from museums, colleges, libraries, and other venues across the country and finally announced the sites chosen for the exhibition on February 26th, 2015. The goal of the exhibition is to not only commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616, but also to bring these historic copies to audiences that otherwise would be unable to experience them.

The First Folio, published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, is a collection of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, with the exception of Pericles and Two Noble Kinsmen. Out of the 36 plays included, only 18 had been printed before in quarto, making it the first reliable source for works such as Julius Caesar, the Tempest, and the Taming of the Shrew. Each Folio exhibited will display Hamlet's Act 3, Scene 1 "to be or not to be" soliloquy, as it is one of the most recognizable passages for American audiences. In addition, Hamlet has one of the most fascinating print histories of Shakespeare's plays, though the Folio and Second Quarto versions are the ones generally taught.

The Folio is a collection of works that have clearly had a profound influence on American culture; while I've been lucky enough to view the First Folio on display in the British Library in London, I fully intend on attending the Folger's exhibition. Even if you are not a Shakespeare fan or interested in rare books, I suggest you do the same. Listed below are the selected sites for the 2016 exhibition, official dates will be released this spring.


Montgomery, Alabama.: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

Juneau, Alaska: Alaska State Libraries, Archives and Museums

Tucson, Arizona.: University of Arizona

Conway, Arkansas.: University of Central Arkansas with Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre

San Diego, California.: The Old Globe with San Diego Public Library

Boulder, Colorado.: University of Colorado Boulder

Storrs, Connecticut.: University of Connecticut

Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University

Wilmington, Deleware.: University of Delaware

Miami, Florida.: The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum

Atlanta, Georgia.: Emory University

Honolulu, Hawaii: Kapiolani Community College

Boise, Idaho: Alberstons Library, Boise State University

Libertyville, Illinois.: Lake County Discovery Museum

Notre Dame, Indiana.: University of Notre Dame

Iowa City, Iowa: The University of Iowa Libraries

Manhattan, Kansas: Kansas State University

Louisville, Kentucky: Frazier History Museum

New Orleans, Louisiana: Tulane University

Portland, Maine: Portland Public Library

Annapolis, Maryland: St. John’s College

Amherst, Massachusetts: Amherst College

Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University with the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Public Library

Duluth, Minnesota: University of Minnesota

Oxford, Mississippi: University of Mississippi

Kansas City, Missouri: Kansas City Public Library

Missoula, Montana: University of Montana

Omaha, Nebraska: The Durham Museum

Reno, Nevada: Nevada Museum of Art, Reno

Manchester, New Hampshire: Currier Museum of Art

Madison, New Jersey: Drew University and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

Santa Fe, New Mexico: New Mexico Museum of Art

New York, New York: New-York Historical Society

Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Museum of History

Bismarck, North Dakota: State Historical Society of North Dakota

Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Public Library

Norman, Oklahoma: The Sam Noble Museum

Eugene, Oregon: University of Oregon 

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania: Elizabethtown College

Gurabo, Puerto Rico: Universidad del Turabo

Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University

Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Libraries

Vermillion, South Dakota: University of South Dakota and the National Music Museum

Nashville, Tennessee: The Parthenon

College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University

Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lake City Public Library

Middlebury, Vermont: Middlebury College

Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia

Seattle, Washington: The Seattle Public Library

Wheeling, West Virginia: Oglebay Park

Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Madison


To learn more about the printing of Shakespeare’s works, including the First Folio, click here.

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