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First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare

November 4, 2016 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

November 3 to December 11 | Leslie and Johanna Garfield Galleries

Coming in 2016: First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare
on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has been selected as the host site for the state of Wisconsin for First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, a national traveling exhibition of the Shakespeare First Folio, one of the world’s most treasured books. The Folger Shakespeare Library, in association with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring a First Folio of Shakespeare in 2016 to all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

The Chazen Museum of Art met the exacting facility standards required to exhibit the folio. The Chazen and the UW–Madison Libraries partnered to bring the exhibition to Madison.

The First Folio, published in 1623, is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, many of which were not published during his lifetime. Two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors compiled thirty-six of his plays to preserve them for future generations. Without their efforts, the world may have never known eighteen of these plays, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, and As You Like It.

When displayed, the First Folio will be opened to the one of the most-quoted lines in the world, “To be or not to be,” from Hamlet. Accompanying the rare book will be a multi-panel exhibit exploring the significance of Shakespeare, then and now, with additional artifacts from various UW collections. Throughout 2016, UW-Madison, in coordination with partners throughout the state, is planning a variety of programs for the public.

“Shakespeare tells the human story like no one else. He connects us to each other, to our history, and to themes and ideas that touch us every day,” said Michael Witmore, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, and a former UW–Madison faculty member. “We are delighted that we can share this precious resource with people everywhere, from San Diego, California to Gurabo, Puerto Rico, from Eugene, Oregon to Duluth, Minnesota.”

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, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, and other generous donors.


Chazen Museum of Art
750 University Avenue
Madison, 53706 United States
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