Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

“Be truly welcome hither.” (As You Like It, II.7)


Looking for something epic to do this summer?

Gather up your family and friends! Join us for Folger’s Shakespeare Summer Adventure!

This summer, the Great Hall is closed for renovation. That means Folger is offering several smaller exhibits for families and friends to enjoy.

Nelson Mandela served 18 years as a political prisoner at Robben Island, a prison off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. While there, another prisoner smuggled in a copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Mandela and 33 of his fellow prisoners read the book and signed their names (often with notes) in this book. For the first time, this volume is on display in the United States—at Folger Shakespeare Library. Come visit the book, along with a series of sketches Mandela made in the early 2000s, reflecting on his prison life.

Down the hall from your South Africa experience is the world of Shakespeare and the Folgers. See the First Folio, printed in 1623 and hailed by Mr. Folger as one of the most important books ever printed. Without the First Folio, half of Shakespeare’s works would have been lost to us. Thanks to our touch-screen kiosk, you can page through Romeo and Juliet and see the lines as they were printed just seven years after Shakespeare’s death. Along with the First Folio, see items of particular importance to the Folgers, including a bracelet made from famed American actor Edwin Booth’s hair.


What was theatre like in Shakespeare’s time? Find the answer in our Elizabethan Theatre. The carved wooden panels and Tudor look will make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time. Then take a look in the Shakespeare Gallery to see what it might have looked like to prepare the Globe for a production. You can also watch a video exploring the impact of Shakespeare and his works on students, actors, experts, and more.


We know you are working to make Shakespeare come alive in your classrooms—we invite you to see him come alive at Folger Shakespeare Library!