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Symbols of Honor

Heraldry and Family History in Shakespeare's England

July 1 - October 26

Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm

Sunday, Noon to 5pm


Free admission


Nigel Ramsay and Heather Wolfe, curators


Our summer exhibition highlights a vital, richly visual aspect of Shakespeare's world: the coats of arms sought after by rising families (including the Shakespeares) - and the royal officials, called heralds, who granted them. Expert in family history, the heralds laid the groundwork for modern genealogy; they also feuded publicly and often.


Symbols of Honor showcases a treasure trove of the heralds' own papers from the Folger collection. It also includes some extraordinary loan items. Among them: a colorful pedigree of Edward IV, probably created for the king himself, and the original drafts of the Shakespeare grant of arms, which have left England for the first time for this display.

Meet the Curators
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Curators' Insights
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How to Decipher a Coat of Arms
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Online Exhibition
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Controversy over Shakespeare's grant of arms
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William Dethick & Shakespeare's Grants of Arms
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Related Programs
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Additional Resources
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Item List
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