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About us

The Folger Shakespeare Library makes Shakespeare’s stories and the world in which he lived accessible. Anchored by the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the Folger is a place where curiosity and creativity are embraced and conversation is always encouraged. Visitors to the Folger can choose how they want to experience the arts and humanities, from interactive exhibitions to captivating performances, and from pathbreaking research to transformative educational programming.

The Folger seeks to be a catalyst for:

Discovery. The Folger’s collection is meant to be used, and it is made accessible in the Folger’s Reading Room to anyone who is researching Shakespeare or the early modern world. The Folger collection has flourished since founders Henry and Emily Folger made their first rare book purchase in 1889, and today contains more than 300,000 objects. The Folger Institute facilitates scholarly and artistic collections-based research, providing research opportunities, lectures, conversations, and other programs to an international community of scholars.

Curiosity. The Folger designs learning opportunities for inquisitive minds at every stage of life, from tours to virtual and in-person workshops. Teachers working with the Folger are trained in the Folger Method, a way of teaching complex texts like Shakespeare that enables students to own and enjoy the process of close reading, interrogating texts, discovering language with peers, and contributing to the ongoing human conversation about words and ideas.

Participation. The Folger evolves with each member and visitor interaction. Our exhibition halls, learning lab, gardens, theater, and historic spaces are open to be explored and to provide entry points for connecting with Shakespeare and the Folger’s collection, as well as forming new pathways to experiencing and understanding the arts.

Creativity. The Folger invites everyone to tell their story and experience the stories of and inspired by Shakespeare. Folger Theatre, Music, and Poetry are programmed in conversation with Folger audiences, exploring our collective past, present, and futures. Shakespeare’s imagination resonates across centuries, and his works are a wellspring for the creativity that imbues the Folger’s stage and all its programmatic offerings.

The Folger welcomes everyone—from communities throughout Washington DC to communities across the globe—to connect in their own way.

Our mission

  • To make our collection accessible
  • To advance understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare’s writings and the culture of the early modern world
  • To preserve and enhance our collection

Who we are

Meet our Board of Governors and staff members.

DEIA and Land Acknowledgement

Read a message from Folger Director Michael Witmore, find our land acknowledgement, and learn more about the Folger’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA).

Learn more