About the First Folio tour

First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor and by the generous support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, British Council, and Stuart and Mimi Rose.

 

Four hundred years after Shakespeare's death, his characters are timeless and familiar, from wide-eyed Miranda to grim Macbeth. But how do we know about Shakespeare's plays in the first place?

For many of the plays, the answer is a single book: the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare. Assembled seven years after Shakespeare's death, the First Folio includes 36 of his plays—18 of which had never been before published. Without it, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, As You Like It, The Tempest, and more could have been lost.

In 2016, in partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare will bring the First Folio to all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The exhibition, which also includes panels and digital content, exclusively features First Folios from the Folger, whose collection of 82 First Folios is by far the largest in the world.

Visitors to First Folio! will come face to face with the original 1623 book, displayed open to Hamlet's speech in which he debates whether "to be or not to be." Each First Folio! host location has also planned public events and activities, often including additional exhibitions, in joyful celebration of the book that saved so many of Shakespeare's dramas and the amazing plays it holds.

The locations include 23 museums, 20 universities, five public libraries, three historical societies, and a theater. Explore our interactive map for the complete list of host sites and tour dates.


Part of The Wonder of Will, a Folger celebration of 400 years of Shakespeare


 

First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor and by the generous support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, British Council, and Stuart and Mimi Rose.