Logo Image


University Museums to host ‘First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare’

University Museums at the University of Delaware will soon be host to the original 1623 Shakespeare First Folio, with the national touring exhibition “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare” on view from Aug. 30 to Sept. 25 in the Old College Gallery.

Considered one of the most influential books in the world, the First Folio includes 36 Shakespeare plays, 18 of which had never been printed before. Without the First Folio, all of those plays — including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, As You Like It, and more — might have been lost forever.

Compiled by two of his friends and fellow theatre colleagues, the First Folio was published seven years after Shakespeare’s death in 1616.

On tour, the First Folio will be opened to the most quoted line from Shakespeare, “to be or not to be” from Hamlet. Accompanying the 1623 book will be a six-panel exhibition exploring Shakespeare’s impact, then and now.

The Folger Shakespeare Library, which holds 82 copies of the First Folio and is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, is touring a Shakespeare First Folio to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Old College Gallery is the only stop on the tour for Delaware.

“The University Museums offers an excellent venue for this rare and important book,” according to Janis A. Tomlinson, director. “To enhance our visitors’ experience, we’ve drawn on the strengths of the UD faculty and the Delaware community to create an exciting schedule of programming examining the First Folio from a variety of perspectives sure to engage audiences of all ages.”

When the tour was announced, Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, said, “Shakespeare is one of the greatest storytellers of all time. His characters are familiar to us, and his words still excite artists, scholars, and audiences around the globe. He connects us to each other, to our history, and to the themes and ideas that touch us every day. Shakespeare’s world is our world, and it is vast. We hope this exhibit invites everyone to come explore.”

Witmore will deliver a lecture, “Shakespeare for the Centuries,” at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7, in the Morris Library Reading Room, followed by an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. in Old College Gallery.

Audiences are invited to connect to the exhibition through guided and self-guided tours, gallery talks, performances, film screenings and interactive workshops for all ages.

UD’s presentation of the First Folio, the accompanying exhibition “Illustrating Shakespeare: From Boydell to Baskin,” and programming is supported by the Morris Library, the departments of English, Music and Theatre, E-52 student theatre group, Delaware Shakespeare Festival and several other community partners. A schedule of programs is available at the University Museums website.

The First Folio will be on display at Old College Gallery from Aug. 30 to Sept. 25 and will be open to the public from noon until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and from noon until 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. The exhibition opens for a public preview from noon-5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30, with a Perspectives gallery talk by Jay Halio, UD professor emeritus of English, in the gallery at 12:30 p.m. 

Guided tours will be available by request from noon-5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday during the run of the exhibition. To book a tour, call 302-831-8037 or write to universitymuseums@udel.edu.

Admission to all University Museums exhibitions and events is free and open to the public.

The “First Folio!” national tour is part of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2016 Wonder of Will celebration of 400 years of Shakespeare.

The exhibition is produced in association with the American Library Association, which helped to organize and plan the tour, including its comprehensive application process, and the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC), whose exhibitions department is providing tour management expertise in preparing for travel the panels that will accompany the First Folios at each stop, as well as designing traveling display cases for the folios.

CMC and Folger staff are partnering to manage tour logistics and provide staff for installation and de-installation at each site.

“First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare” has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and by the support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, and other generous donors.

About University Museums at University of Delaware

The University Museums encompasses Old College Gallery, Mechanical Hall Gallery and the Mineralogical Museum on the University of Delaware campus in Newark. These museums enhance the educational and scholarly mission of the university through the exhibitions and through the online presentation, study, preservation and growth of unique collections in 20th and 21st century American art – with particular strengths in the Brandywine School, African American art, and photography – and minerals. All programs are open to the public free of charge.

About Folger Shakespeare Library

Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world. The Folger welcomes millions of visitors online and in person. It provides unparalleled access to a huge array of resources, from original sources to modern interpretations. With the Folger, visitors can experience the power of performance, the wonder of exhibitions, and the excitement of path-breaking research. The Folger offers the opportunity to see and work with early modern sources, driving discovery and transforming education for students of all ages.

Partners in this exhibition include:

Cincinnati Museum Center

Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution and national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight, and inspiration, CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012. CMC is one of only 16 museums in the nation with both of these honors, making it a unique asset and a vital community resource. Union Terminal has been voted the nation's 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History and Science, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater, and Cincinnati History Library and Archives. Recognized by Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, CMC welcomes more than one million visitors annually.

American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. 

Contact Us

Have a UDaily story idea?

Contact us at ocm@udel.edu

Members of the press

Contact us at 302-831-NEWS or visit the Media Relations website