The site of two to three exhibitions a year, drawn primarily from the Folger collection, the Folger's Great Hall evokes the gallery of a sixteenth-century house with its soaring plaster strapwork ceiling and oak-paneled walls. The terracotta floor incorporates masks of Comedy and Tragedy as well as the titles of Shakespeare's plays. The First Folio of Shakespeare is on permanent display, as is a white marble memorial bust of Henry Folger produced by John Gregory, the same artist who created the Folger's exterior bas-reliefs.
The shield and great eagle of the United States grace the west end of the hall, nearest the Capitol. The coat of arms of Elizabeth I, Shakespeare's queen, represents Great Britain at the east end. Each heraldic device is accompanied by a quotation from a theatrical giant—respectively, the American drama critic William Winter and the British thespian David Garrick.
Just off the hall is an additional space, the Shakespeare Gallery, established in the 1990s with the help of the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. The Shakespeare Gallery offers a visitor orientation video and a multimedia exhibition of highlights from the Folger collection.