How Does the Building Project Affect You?
The Folger Shakespeare Library is committed to serving all its audiences during the building renovation project and will continue most of its programming at offsite venues while construction is happening.
Please note that our historic building at 201 East Capitol Street is no longer open to daytime visitors for exhibitions, tours, or research now that our building renovation has begun. However, our doors remain open for Folger Theatre's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor (through Mar 1, 2020) and other ticketed events. Plan your visit
Even after the Folger Theatre 2019/20 season ends and construction begins, you'll still be able to find Folger performances and programs around Washington, DC, and across the country. The Folger’s online offerings – the digital collection, the full texts of Shakespeare’s plays and poems, email newsletters, blogs, podcasts, and other resources – will continue uninterrupted.
See specific information for the following:
See our Performances & Events page for a full listing of events; individual event pages will include specific location information.
Folger Theatre 2019/20 Season
With The Merry Wives of Windsor, onstage through Mar 1, 2020, Folger Theatre is concluding its 2019/20 season series of three plays on our own stage in our historic Elizabethan-styled theater at the Folger. For future seasons while the building is under construction, Folger Theatre is in conversations about other exciting venues for plays.
Folger Theatre 2020/21 Season
Folger Theatre goes on the road for the 2020/21 season:
- A Midsummer Night's Dream: In partnership with the National Building Museum and the University of South Carolina as part of the museum's 2020 Summer Block Party, Shakespeare's Playhouse
- The Tempest: A co-production with Round House Theatre
- Nathan the Wise: In association with Theater J
Folger Consort is performing its 2019/20 season of early music from Italy one block from the Folger at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (301 A Street SE), with the annual concerts at the Washington National Cathedral. Concerts are on the ensemble's traditional schedule of days and times.
Poetry, Talks, and Family Programs
The Folger will continue to rely on sponsorship and member support during the renovation. Members will receive invitations to events and programs associated with their membership level. Beginning in early 2020, those events will be nearby on Capitol Hill or at other local nonprofit partners. These events include the annual Folger Gala, Renaissance Circles events, Acquisitions Night, opening nights for Folger Theatre and exhibitions, fellows lectures, gallery talks, Consort open rehearsals, and early access and discounted tickets to Folger Theatre and Folger Consort.
Gallery talks and exhibition openings will be held at partner organizations and may take on a different format. Other member benefits are unaffected by the renovation.
Programs for teachers and students that traditionally happen onsite at the Folger have moved to off-site venues.
- The 2020 Secondary School Shakespeare Festival will take place in March at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Anacostia Playhouse. (Please note: the Emily Jordan Folger Children’s Shakespeare Festival will not be held in 2020.)
- Shakespeare and the Making of America, the Folger's 2020 Teaching Shakespeare Institute, will take place in Jamestown and Williamsburg.
- The 2020 Summer Academy will be at the National Building Museum.
- Off-site locations for the Lily McKee High School Fellows are still being determined for fall 2020.
Folger Education’s extensive work with D.C. Public Schools will continue uninterrupted, including the deployment of a new Othello curriculum for twelfth-grade English classes. Local teachers of all grades and subjects can attend an April 4 workshop in collaboration with the Smithsonian American Art Museum about putting Shakespeare’s works in conversation with American art.
Folger Education continues to provide professional development workshops for teachers across the country, including at state affiliate conferences of the National Council of Teachers of English. Hear Director of Education Peggy O’Brien at the Pennsylvania and West Virginia conferences in 2020, and at the Ohio conference in 2021. (Want your state on the list? Contact your NCTE Affiliate.)
Teacher members have access to more than 500 lesson plans and monthly Webinar Wednesdays through our online portal, Forsooth!
Please note that the Reading Rooms are closed during the building renovation project.
Fellowships and Scholarly Programs
Starting with the 2019-2020 academic year, the Folger Institute is awarding fellowships to support research in collections elsewhere. During the renovation, seminars and conferences will continue offsite with institutional partners, including our university consortium members. Programming for Before ‘Farm to Table,’ the Mellon initiative in collaborative research, will continue with institutional partners such as the Newberry and Huntington libraries.
The Folger Collection
Caring for our peerless collection is our first priority and greatest responsibility. The Folger is exploring arrangements for the collection to be off-site during the renovation and developing plans for multiple forms of limited access, such as traveling exhibitions and loans. In addition, the Folger’s digital collections continue to expand and provide opportunities for continued exploration of the collection.
During renovation, Folger staff will be working hard on conservation, cataloguing, and digitization to better serve all audiences when we reopen the building to the public. Folger staff are currently working with fellows and researchers to accommodate their needs as they plan research projects that are scheduled to overlap with the renovation. Folger staff will make recommendations for priority digitization, promote the available online resources, and encourage online scholarly discussion.
The Folger's reference librarians are still available to answer many types of research-related questions, even though access to the collection is limited and the Reading Rooms are closed. Consult our FAQs and submit your questions using our Ask a Librarian form.
Intending to publish anything that includes images of materials in the Folger collection? Our timeline for imaging collection items will be greatly affected by the building renovation. We may not be able to fill requests for images requiring new photography submitted on or after January 1, 2020. Learn more
Read a July 2019 letter to Folger readers from Kathleen Lynch, Executive Director, Folger Institute, and Greg Prickman, Eric Weinmann Librarian and Director of Collections. Also, read a summary of the December 2019 Librarian's Forum led by Greg Prickman, which included a Q&A session.
Researchers with questions can email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about using the collection or email@example.com with questions about Folger Institute programs and initiatives. These plans will continue to evolve, and more details will be posted here as they become available. Follow @FolgerResearch on Twitter, subscribe to the Research Bulletin email newsletter, or join the Folger Institute Commons listserv.
The Folger is working to minimize the disruption our renovation project will have on the surrounding neighborhood. Traffic patterns around the 201 East Capitol building will remain the same.
White, painted wood construction fencing approved by the Architect of the Capitol will surround the Folger on East Capitol Street SE, 2nd Street SE, and 3rd Street SE. Adjacent sidewalks and permit/metered parking will be unavailable during the renovation. This includes approximately 12 permit/2-hour spaces on the south side of East Capitol Street SE and 10 metered spaces on the west side of 3rd Street SE.
Most construction-related vehicles will enter the property at the corners of East Capitol and 2nd Street SE and 3rd Street SE. From time to time, heavy construction equipment used in excavation may result in traffic delays as equipment is maneuvered onto the property. All work is expected to be conducted during reasonable daytime hours. Dumpsters, portable toilets, and materials staging will all be within the construction barricade and will not be visible from the street.
Through updates on the Folger website as well as communication with local media and the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, the Folger will remain in regular contact with neighbors to ensure that plans, timelines, and progress are shared and understood.