Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC

#121 of 435 in Things to do in Washington DC
Library · Traveler Resource
The Folger Shakespeare Library is an independent research library on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in the United States. It has the world's largest collection of the printed works of William Shakespeare, and is a primary repository for rare materials from the early modern period (1500–1750). The library was established by Henry Clay Folger in association with his wife, Emily Jordan Folger. It opened in 1932, two years after his death.

The library offers advanced scholarly programs and national outreach to K–12 classroom teachers on Shakespeare education. Other performances and events at the Folger include the award-winning Folger Theatre, which produces Shakespeare-inspired theater; Folger Consort, the early-music ensemble-in-residence; the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series; the PEN/Faulkner Reading Series; and numerous other exhibits, seminars, talks and lectures, and family programs. It also has several publications, including the Folger Library editions of Shakespeare's plays, the journal Shakespeare Quarterly, the teacher resource books Shakespeare Set Free, and catalogs of exhibitions. The Folger is also a leader in methods of preserving rare materials.

The library is privately endowed and administered by the Trustees of Amherst College. The library building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Folger Shakespeare Library reviews

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219 reviews
  • Visited in Jan 2020. It sounds like a large portion of the museum are being renovated so only one main room was open to tour. Still, it was interesting to learn about how it was built and see a...  more »
  • Tucked behind the Capitol is this excellent collection of all things Shakespeare. On this visit, I enjoyed a great production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" in the small but faithful reproduction of....  more »
  • What an unexpected treat. Tour was so informative and engaging. Both my 12 and 20 year old were captivated learning how Shakespeare has impacted the English language and theater. A real gem.
  • I had a chance to visit this library. Most of the collection is viewed by arrangement prior to visiting. For legitimate research purposes, volumes are available for personal viewing. A visit to the ‘mini-Globe stage’ enabled us to sit in as initial rehearsals for one of the Henry plays ( I forget which one) were underway. Views of the main library showed how sponge rubber or foam wedges kept researches from damaging binding during viewing. I can’t wait to get back to inspect this collection

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