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VCU Libraries hosts tour of Folger Shakespeare Library during A-10 in D.C.

February 22, 2018

Alumni and other VCU friends and fans attending the A-10 basketball tournament in Washington have an opportunity to mix their hoops with a literary adventure. VCU Libraries is hosting a special, free behind-the-scenes tour of Washington's Folger Shakespeare Library on March 9 at 10 a.m. 

Interested in signing up? To register or for questions, email Kelly Gotschalk (B.F.A.’90/A; M.A.’97/A), director of development and major gifts, VCU Libraries.

The Folger Library is unique among libraries and among Washington buildings. 

It houses the world's largest collection of materials relating to Shakespeare and his works, from the 16th century to the present day, as well as a world-renowned collection of books, manuscripts, and prints from Renaissance Europe. And, it is a center for performances and exhibitions, several of which will be open to the VCU tour group. 

The Folger Shakespeare Library was dedicated in 1932 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

When one thinks of the treasures of the Folger Shakespeare Library, books and manuscripts and artwork immediately come to mind. But, the library's national landmark building—designed by Paul Philippe Cret (1876–1945)—is a high point. 

Located a block from the United States Capitol, the Folger Shakespeare Library is an Elizabethan monument with a neoclassical exterior. On the outside, its white marble harmonizes with nearby buildings, such as the Library of Congress, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court. Inside, the design evokes Tudor England, with oak paneling, ornamental floor tile, and high plaster ceilings. The Folger building is best known for the Shakespeare bas-reliefs along its north façade.

The building is extensively ornamented with inscriptions of quotations by and about Shakespeare. 

The Folger's grounds and gardens, while not at their peak in March, are magical--filled with herbs and plants dating to Shakespeare's time--and ornamented with references to his plays. The Elizabethan Garden is inspired in part by herbal references in Shakespeare's plays, but it also incorporates plants that were simply popular in his time, such as lavender, creeping thyme and English ivy. The Folger grounds also have sculptutural works evoking the characters and themes of eight of Shakespeare's plays: The TempestJulius CaesarKing LearHamletTwelfth NightA Midsummer Night's DreamHenry IV, Part 2, and Macbeth.

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