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First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare

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FREE ADMISSION, PROGRAMS, EVENTS  | February 3–28

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Hamlet

Introducing Mr. William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare has arrived in Lake County! Not the bard himself, of course, but a once-in-a-lifetime national touring exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 1616. Don't miss your chance to see one of the rarest, most valuable and most influential books in the world––the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio.

Our Lake County Discovery Museum is the Illinois host institution for the exhibition First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, in association with the American Library Association and the Cincinnati Museum Center. The exhibition is traveling during the entire 2016 year, and will stop for a one-month show at a single institution in each of the 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. View host locations and dates.

Free Admission

There is no admission fee to see the First Folio! exhibition at the Discovery Museum. A major grant and support from donors made it possible for host institutions to offer the exhibition and associated programming free of charge to the public.

Free Programs and Events

In celebration of this important cultural event, the Discovery Museum is offering free programs, events and performances relating to Shakespeare and the First Folio! exhibition throughout the month of February. Registration is required. A full listing of programs and events at the Discovery Museum can be found to the left, or on our upcoming events calendar.

About the First Folio

The First Folio, which is the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death. John Heminge and Henry Condell, Shakespeare's friends and fellow actors in the King's Men, compiled 36 of his plays, hoping to preserve them for future generations. Learn more »

The First Folio groups the plays for the first time into histories, comedies, and tragedies, and it includes the Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare, generally considered an authentic image because it was approved by those who knew him. More importantly, the First Folio preserved 18 of Shakespeare's plays that had never been printed before: All’s Well That Ends WellAntony and CleopatraAs You Like ItComedy of ErrorsCoriolanusCymbeline1 Henry VIHenry VIIIJulius CaesarKing JohnMacbethMeasure for MeasureThe Taming of the ShrewThe TempestTimon of AthensTwelfth NightTwo Gentlemen of Verona, and The Winter’s Tale.

The Folger holds 82 copies of the First Folio, by far the largest collection in the world and more than a third of the 233 known copies in the world today. Researchers believe that about 750 copies were originally printed in 1623. One of the most valuable printed books in the world, a First Folio sold at auction for $6.2 million in 2001 and another one sold for $5.2 million in 2006. In 1623 it originally sold at auction for one British pound (20 shillings)—about $200 today.

About the Exhibition

When the First Folio arrived at the Discovery Museum in Wauconda, IL, the book was opened to one of the most quoted lines in the English Language, “to be or not to be,” from Hamlet. Accompanying the rare book is a multi-panel exhibition exploring the significance of Shakespeare, then and now, with additional digital content and interactives.

Donors

This exhibition 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 Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the Friends of the Lake County Discovery Museum, and other generous donors.

The Illinois presentation of this exhibition is made possible by a gift from John Monroe, in honor of his friend John High, and by support from the Friends of the Lake County Discovery Museum. 


First Folio

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  • ToBeOrNotToBeHamlet_FirstFolioFolger
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GALLERY HOURS

Through February 28, the Museum will have extended hours to allow more visitors to see First Folio!

Mon–Wed 10 am–4:30 pm
ThuSun 10 am–8 pm 

FREE AT THE DISCOVERY MUSEUM

Congressman Robert Dold (R-Illinois, 10th District, Waukegan, Highland Park, Round Lake Beach) speaking on the floor of the United States House of Representatives on February 2, 2016, about the First Folio! exhibit at the Lake County Discovery Museum.


PARTNERS

During the exhibition, our community partners will be offering their own programs and events to celebrate the arrival of the First Folio. Check out the calendar below to find an activity near you. Registration and fees may be required.


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