Skip to main content
What's on /

Out of the Vault: Into the Heart of the Folger

Ongoing exhibition of key items from the Folger collection and the people who use them

Booking and details

Plan your visit

Dates Opening Fri, Jun 21, 2024

Venue The Robin and Roger Millay Gallery in the Stuart and Mimi Rose Rare Book and Manuscript Exhibition Hall

Tickets Free; timed-entry pass recommended

The Folger at work

What is the Folger, and what do people come here to do? A rotating selection of rare books and manuscripts offer intriguing windows on the Folger’s remarkable collection, multifaceted work, and passionate community.

Signature objects and Folger voices

See signature objects from the collection Shakespeare, and beyond and learn how they connect with various aspects of the Folger’s work, through the voices of scholars, teachers, curators, conservators, and others.

Research, performance, learning, and more

Whether it’s transcribing centuries-old handwritten texts, making new discoveries in the Reading Room, or editing our best-selling editions of Shakespeare’s works, you’ll gain a fuller picture of what happens at the Folger.


On display

Items will periodically change to limit light exposure, but the exhibition opening will include:

  • A letter from former First Lady Abigail Adams
  • A miniature edition of Hamlet with a skull case
  • A notebook of quotations and observations recorded by 19th-century author George Eliot
  • Holinshed’s Chronicles, a major source for Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • A 1718 portrait of Queen Anne made up entirely of tiny letters and ornaments drawn in pen and ink
  • A 16th-century book of magic, known as a grimoire
  • An English manuscript recipe book from about 1666
  • And more

Don’t miss…

An early printed Chaucer: Canterbury Tales
Opening of a bound volume with two full pages of printed blackletter text with wide righthand and bottom margins. The text is too small to read here.

An early printed Chaucer: Canterbury Tales

Among the earliest printed books in the Folger collection is this 1477 edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, one of only about a dozen relatively complete copies that have survived.

Mathematical diagrams from 1482

Mathematical diagrams from 1482

This edition of Euclid’s Elements, printed in Venice in 1482, is considered the first full-length printed book with extensive mathematical illustrations.

How often will collection items rotate in this exhibition?

In order to preserve our collection items and limit their exposure to damaging light, we will rotate objects every 3-5 months. This means that you could visit the exhibition several times over the course of a year and see different objects each time.