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Folger Shakespeare Library Reopens with Accessibility Upgrades

Lend us your ears: Folger Shakespeare Library is re-opening on 21 June, unveiling a raft of renovations and accessibility upgrades.

On 21 June, Folger Shakespeare Library will re-open to the public after an extensive four-year renovation. The Washington D.C. landmark has been transformed into a welcoming and accessible space for visitors of all ages and abilities, reimagined for the 21st century.

Home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the Folger offers interactive exhibitions, captivating performances, groundbreaking research, and transformative educational programming year-round. The inaugural permanent exhibition will showcase the library’s unique 82-copy collection of First Folios, exhibited in full for the first time and showcased in a 20-foot vault. Whether you’re a Shakespeare scholar or simply interested in sampling the best of DC’s monuments and attractions, you’re sure to find something of interest with your choice of ways to engage.

Folger Shakespeare Library is just one block away from the U.S. Capitol, next to the Library of Congress and adjacent to the U.S. Supreme Court. With the completion of the renovation project, both entry plazas (on the east- and west-facing sides of the building) are now fully accessible with gentle sloped pathways, and connected by walk- or wheel-able gardens. Visitors are welcome to wander the gardens at their leisure, and even enjoy a picnic lunch if you’re peckish.

A life-like rendering of the renovated and redesigned exterior of the Folger Shakespeare Library showing sloped walkways and gardens

A visit to Folger Shakespeare Library is a a budget-friendly day out for visitors to Washington D.C., too. If your itinerary for the day is flexible, walk-in visits are free and welcomed as building capacity allows. If you’d prefer a specific slot with guaranteed entry, they offer a pay-what-you-will timed entry pass, now available to book online from re-opening day on 21 June. This would be the best option for visitors who want to avoid waiting in queues.

First Folios of Shakespeare's work on display at Folger Shakespeare Library
The inaugural exhibition at the re-opened Folger Shakespeare Library showcases the world’s largest collection of First Folios. Credit: Lloyd Wolf

There are a range of accessibility supports available when visiting Folger Shakespeare Library, including wheelchairs available to loan from the Welcome Desk. For patrons who are attending a performance, there is accessible seating available (including preferred seats for access to open-caption boards). ASL Interpretation of performances can be arranged with advance notice, as can audio description (by Volunteers Inclusion Access), and assistive listening devices are available at most events with no extra charge. There are designated performances for patrons who prefer a masked environment (masks required for all audience members, staff, and volunteers), and relaxed performances offering a more comfortable environment for people with specific sensory needs.

For more information about accessibility at the newly re-opened Folger Shakespeare Library, visit their website or send them an email.

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