The University of South Carolina will host a traveling exhibit of Shakespeare’s First Folio, a 1623 collection of 36 of his plays, including some of his most famous.
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington has selected USC as one the sites for its most ambitious exhibition ever: a traveling tour of First Folios that will stop in every state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (#SHX400), the 2016 tour has been designed in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association.
This is a big deal. You’ll be able to see the words “to be or not to be” from “Hamlet,” in the first publication collection of his works.
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The First Folio, published in 1623 by two of the playwright’s colleagues, is so important because it’s the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. It contains 36 scripts and is the original source for such immortal works as “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night” and “The Tempest.” Of the 750 copies believed to have been originally published, 233 survive today, and the Folger owns 82.
USC is partnering with Richland Library for programming related to the exhibit, which will include lectures, theatrical performances and other activities in a Shakespeare-palooza.
The folio will be exhibited at the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library for four weeks. Dates for the only stop in South Carolina have not been announced yet.
Hundreds of hopeful libraries, museums, historical societies and other cultural venues submitted applications for a chance to host a free four-week display of a First Folio from the Folger’s incomparable collection.
In partnership with the American Library Association, the Folger looked for applicants who could provide creative public programs, support from local scholars and community organizations, and appropriate security. (When a First Folio comes up for auction, which rarely happens, it sells for more than $5 million.) All in all, the Folger’s First Folios will stop at 23 museums, 20 universities, five public libraries, three historical societies and one theater.