The Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) and Cincinnati Museum Center, has announced the tour sites for its 2016 national traveling exhibition of First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare.
The First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death. John Heminge and Henry Condell, two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors, compiled 36 of his plays, hoping to preserve them for future generations. Many of Shakespeare’s plays, which were written to be performed, were not published during his lifetime. Without the First Folio, 18 of Shakespeare’s plays — including “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Tempest,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “The Comedy of Errors” and “As You Like It” — would have been lost.
The exhibition will tour the original 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare to all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The locations include 23 museums, 20 universities, five public libraries, three historical societies and a theater. The list of sites with dates can be viewed here.
The national tour of the Shakespeare First Folio is part of the Folger’s Wonder of Will initiative in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.