A few weeks ago my husband and I took a trip to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. The library was featuring an exhibit called Decoding the Renaissance – 500 Years of Codes and Ciphers. Being a total Renaissance/Shakespeare nerd, I HAD to visit. Despite the frigid temperatures in D.C. that Sunday (it was that day with a negative 12 degree wind chill), we had an amazing time. Although I could give over a dozen reasons to visit the Library, I’ve listed my top 5 below!
- The exhibits. The Decoding the Renaissance exhibit featured the use of secret messages in war, diplomacy, and spy craft over the last hundreds of years. Although that exhibit left on February 26, the Library is now featuring the Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude exhibit. Check it out!
- The Collection. Not only does the Library possess 82 of the First Folio of 1623 (AHH!!!), but they also have Thomas More’s Utopia in original Latin, costumes worn by past theater stars, promptbooks that record classic staging of Shakespeare’s plays, thousands of illustrations of Shakespeare’s plays, 13th Century manuscripts, more than 200 early quartos of Shakespeare plays, and original works of art of Queen Elizabeth I!
- The Library tour. While there, my husband and I had an awesome tour of the Library (unfortunately on a Sunday, the reading room was closed that day), and our tour guide was very knowledgeable of all-things Shakespeare and of the Elizabethan Era. Although I know quite a bit about the Bard and his works, I left the tour with even more knowledge.
- Family Programs. The Folger Shakespeare Library offers programs for all ages and encourages families to experience Shakespeare’s language together! On Shake Up Your Saturdays, children and families are invited to participate in learning about Shakespeare’s language and works. Coming up in April, they are having a Have Fun with Hamlet! Event. Also in April are Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday events. I definitely want to check them out!
- Free Admission. And best of all, you can experience all this Shakespeare awesomeness for FREE. That’s right – FREE!
Jennie K. Brown, PCTELA President @jenniekaywrites