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Sam Noble Museum to Exhibit Shakespeare First Folio in 2016

In honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616, "First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare" will tour all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, beginning in January 2016.

NORMAN – The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, recently named Oklahoma’s host for the "First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare" national tour, will host the First Folio exhibition Jan. 4 through Jan. 31, 2016.  

“The Sam Noble Museum is excited to announce that Oklahomans can now plan to experience first-hand the rareness of the First Folio,” said Jen Tregarthen, spokesperson for the museum. “This exhibit is a rare opportunity for people in Oklahoma to experience one of the most influential books in history.”

In honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616, "First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare" will tour all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, beginning in January 2016. A full list of host sites and tour dates is available at folger.edu

First Folio, organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, will be opened to the most quoted line from Shakespeare and 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 exhibition exploring the significance of Shakespeare, then and now, with additional digital content and interactive activities. During the exhibition, the University of Oklahoma, with the cooperation of the university’s medieval and early modern faculty, will present numerous public programs.

Also on display in complement to the First Folio exhibition will be Shakespeare’s Second Folio (1632), held in the John and Mary Nichols Special Collections at Bizzell Memorial Library, as a part of the Galileo’s World exhibition celebrating the university’s 125th anniversary.

The First Folio is the first complete collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, seven years after his death. Compiled by two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors, it preserves 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. Without it, we would not have 18 of those plays, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest and Antony and Cleopatra. 

Thanks to the First Folio, generations have experienced Shakespeare’s lasting influence on language, culture, theater, music, education and more. There are 233 known copies in the world today, with 82 copies held by the Folger Shakespeare Library. One of the most valuable printed books in the world, a First Folio sold for $6.2 million in 2001 at Christie’s and another one for $5.2 million in 2006 in London. It originally sold for one British pound (20 shillings) — about $200 today. 

“At the Folger Shakespeare Library, we’re looking forward to taking the books out of our vaults in 2016 and on the road,” said Michael Witmore, director. “We’re excited to see the many different ways that communities across the country will be celebrating Shakespeare — in performances, poetry slams, lectures and more.”

"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 generous support of Google.org and Vinton and Sigrid Cerf. Opportunities are available to sponsor this major exhibition and the Folger’s other Wonder of Will programs commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Learn more at folger.edu

The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is located on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus at J. Willis Stovall Road and Chautauqua Avenue. For accommodations on the basis of disability, call (405) 325-4712 or visit SamNobleMuseum.org.   

About Folger Shakespeare Library 

Folger Shakespeare Library is a world-renowned center for scholarship, learning, culture and the arts. It is home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for rare materials from the early modern period (1500-1750). The Folger is an internationally recognized research library offering advanced scholarly programs in the humanities; an innovator in the preservation of rare materials; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K-12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs — theatre, music, poetry, exhibits, lectures and family programs. Learn more at folger.edu.   

About Cincinnati Museum Center

Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution and national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012. CMC is one of only 16 museums in the nation with both of these honors, making it a unique asset and a vital community resource. Union Terminal has been voted the nation’s 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and Cincinnati History Library & Archives. Recognized by Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, CMC welcomes more than 1 million visitors annually. For more information, visit cincymuseum.org.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. 

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives. Additional information can be found at ala.org/programming.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.