Building Renovation Project

This $72 million project is supported by The Wonder of Will: The Campaign for the Folger Shakespeare Library

The Folger’s 1932 building, designed by architect Paul Cret, is undergoing a major renovation to expand public space, improve accessibility, and enhance the experience for all who come to the Folger.

Read articles about the renovation and see construction photos

During Construction: Folger Programs and Other Information

During construction, our historic building at 201 East Capitol Street is not accessible to visitors for exhibitions, tours, events, or research. However, Folger performances and programs continue online and around Washington, DC, and across the country, as pandemic conditions allow. How will construction affect you? Learn more

Explore the Renovation Renderings

New Spaces and Experiences

Entry Plazas & Gardens

The building renovation project will add a 12,000-square-foot public pavilion under the Folger’s front lawn with large, welcoming, and fully accessible entry plazas for all visitors on both the east- and west-facing sides of the building.

The landscaped entry plazas will connect with open gardens on either side of the building, with paths and benches for visitors. A newly-commissioned poem by Rita Dove will greet visitors to our new western entrance.


When the building reopens to the public, there will be permanent and temporary exhibitions available year-round in two large exhibition halls featuring priceless works from the Folger collection. One will be focused on Shakespeare and the other—the Stuart and Mimi Rose Rare Book and Manuscript Exhibition Hall—on other works and items representative of the early modern world. The Great Hall will transform from an exhibition space to a public gathering place.


The building renovation project will create new study rooms where researchers can consult more easily with curators or conservators. There will also be multi-purpose and flexible meeting spaces where researchers can collaborate or participate in seminars. The historic Reading Room will have new, ergonomically designed furniture, as well as improvements to lighting and internet connectivity. 


A new Education Laboratory will provide a flexible space for hands-on demonstrations, interactive workshops, and lively discussions for learners of all ages. New exhibition galleries and more deeply engaging programs for students and teachers will enrich and support classroom work with Shakespeare's texts.

Visitor amenities

- Full accessibility 
​- Elevator access to all public levels
- Café services in the Great Hall
- Expanded gift shop
- Expanded restrooms

Meet the Architects & Designers    


June 2018                   

Restoration work begins on the Folger’s historic façade

April 15, 2019            

The Wonder of Will campaign launches

January 4, 2020

Final day for research in the Folger Reading Rooms before construction begins

January 5, 2020

Final day for daytime visitors to the Folger main building before construction begins; the building will remain open to the public for evening events

March 1, 2020            

Final performance in the Elizabethan Theatre for the 2019-2020 Folger Theatre season

Public evening access to the building ends

August 26, 2020

Ceremonial groundbreaking

September 2020

Puck statue and fountain disassembled for safe storage during construction

October 2020

The historic magnolia tree is moved to its new location in the West Garden

December 2020

Plinth dismantled and excavation begins


Opening events


This $72 million project is supported by The Wonder of Will: The Campaign for the Folger Shakespeare Library