Folger Shakespeare Library main building. Julie Ainsworth.
The Folger Shakespeare Library houses the world's largest collection of Shakespeareana. Its collection, now in excess of 280,000 volumes and 27,000 paintings, drawings, prints, and engravings, includes 79 of the world's 250 First Folios, and other rare Renaissance books and manuscripts. In the Folger's Great Hall, visitors can view objects on a wide variety of scholarly topics drawn from this collection.
In the Shakespeare Gallery, a multi-media exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to browse electronically through the Folger's rich treasures pertaining to Shakespeare and his time. When spring comes to Washington, herbs and flowers grown in Shakespeare's time grace the buildings east lawn.
In the intimacy of the Folger's Elizabethan-inspired theatre, visitors can enjoy Shakespeare performances by Folger Theatre, early music concerts by Folger Consort, poetry and fiction readings, and lectures. Each April, during the Folger's celebration of Shakespeare's birthday, the public is invited into the Reading Rooms, which are normally only open to scholars and graduate students.
Architect Paul Cret, who also designed the Duke Ellington Memorial Bridge, designed this art deco masterpiece for his patron Henry Clay Folger. The Folger opened in April 1932 and celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2007. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Hours: Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm; Sunday noon - 5pm
Building and Exhibition Tours: Monday through Friday at 11am and 3pm; Saturday at 11am and 1pm; and Sunday at 1pm
Reading Rooms Tours: Saturday at Noon, limited to 15 visitors. To guarantee a tour spot, please reserve online.
Guided Tour Providers: Yes