Shakespeare’s First Folio will travel to the Benton Museum

By Ron Charles for the Washington Post

In the words of King Lear, today we learn “who loses and who wins; who’s in, who’s out.”

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington has selected the sites for its most ambitious exhibition ever: a traveling tour of First Folios that will stop in every state, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (#SHX400), the 2016 tour has been designed in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association.

Hundreds of hopeful libraries, museums, historical societies and other cultural venues submitted applications for a chance to host a free four-week display of a First Folio from the Folger’s incomparable collection. This morning, the winners, “chosen from above,/ By inspiration of celestial grace,” were announced. (See full list below. Exact dates for each stop will be announced this spring.)

Here in Washington, Gallaudet University earned the honor of displaying the Folger’s traveling First Folio, one of the most valuable printed books in the world. In Maryland, the book will stop at St. John’s College in Annapolis. And Virginians can see the First Folio at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Like the United States Senate, the design of this tour favors the population of small states. Almost everyone in tiny Rhode Island will be within walking distance of the First Folio visiting Brown University in Providence. But millions of Californians will have to travel hundreds of miles south to see the rare book in San Diego, where the public library will be hosting the First Folio with the Old Globe, one of the nation’s oldest Shakespeare theaters.

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