If you want to attend a theater production of Shakespeare, or browse a collection of Shakespeare materials as well as collections of other rare Renaissance books, manuscripts, and works of art, then the Folger Shakespeare Library has what you need!
The Folger Shakespeare Library opened in 1932 and is under the administration of Trustees of Amherst College. Today, the library is a research center for Shakespeare studies with the finest collection of Shakespeare folios and quartos in the world. The library also has a collection of English books of the period 1475-1700, over 1000 editions of Shakespeare's plays in English and foreign languages from the 18th-20th centuries, theatrical records with emphasis on Shakespeare performance and production, manuscript holdings (including the Macro Manuscript of English morality plays), letters and diaries of actors/actresses, and continental books of the period 1500-1750.
The Folger Shakespeare Library has a neoclassical exterior. On the outside, its white marble harmonizes with nearby buildings such as the Library of Congress, Supreme Court and U.S. Capitol Building. On the exterior walls of the building, there are nine scenes from Shakespeare's plays. The building also has inscriptions of quotations by and about Shakespeare. On the west side of the building, there is a statue of Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream. On the east side, there is an Elizabethan garden with flowers and plants from Shakespeare's time. At the garden, there are eight statues depicting scenes from a Shakespeare play.
As you walk into the library, the Information Desk will be on the left, the Great Hall will be on the right, and the Theatre will be in front of you. At the Information Desk, you can buy tickets for plays, concerts, and Shakespeare-related events. If you are not quite ready for a show, go to the Great Hall. With elements such as oak paneling, ornamental floor tile and high plaster ceilings, the Great Hall is a popular attraction for visitors. Here, visitors can enjoy rotating exhibits from the permanent collection.
Guided Walking Tours: The Folger Shakespeare Library provides tours of the library and exhibits from Monday to Friday at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Tours of the Elizabethan Garden are available every third Saturday of the month from April through October at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Tours are FREE, and no advance reservations or tickets are needed.
Hours of Operation: Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed on all federal holidays. It is also open for ticketed performances on selected evenings and Sundays.
Address/Location: 201 East Capitol Street SE, Washington DC 20003.
The Folger Shakespeare Library is located directly behind the Library of Congress, and two blocks away from the U.S. Capitol. The Supreme Court is less than two blocks away.
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