Building Renovation Project

This $69 million project is supported by The Wonder of Will: The Campaign for the Folger Shakespeare Library

The Folger’s 1932 building, designed by architect Paul Cret, will be undergoing a major renovation beginning in early 2020 to expand public space, improve accessibility, and enhance the experience for all who come to the Folger.

During the multi-year renovation, public access to the building will be restricted, but Folger programs and events will continue at other locations in Washington, DC, and around the country.

 


During Construction: Folger Programs and Other Information

How will construction affect visitors, audiences, teachers and students, researchers, members, and neighbors? Learn more


 

Explore the Renovation Renderings

 


 

New Spaces and Experiences

Entry Plazas & Gardens

The building renovation project will add a 12,000-square-foot public pavilion under the Folger’s front lawn with large, welcoming, and fully accessible entry plazas for all visitors on both the east- and west-facing sides of the building.

The landscaped entry plazas will connect with open gardens on either side of the building, with paths and benches for visitors.
 

Exhibitions

When the building reopens to the public, there will be permanent and temporary exhibitions available year-round in two large exhibition halls featuring priceless works from the Folger collection. One will be focused on Shakespeare and the other—the Stuart and Mimi Rose Rare Book and Manuscript Exhibition Hall—on other works and items representative of the early modern world. The Great Hall will transform from an exhibition space to a public gathering place.
 

Research

The building renovation project will create new study rooms where researchers can consult more easily with curators or conservators. There will also be multi-purpose and flexible meeting spaces where researchers can collaborate or participate in seminars. The historic Reading Room will have new, ergonomically designed furniture, as well as improvements to lighting and internet connectivity. 
 

Education

A new Education Laboratory will provide a flexible space for hands-on demonstrations, interactive workshops, and lively discussions for learners of all ages. New exhibition galleries and more deeply engaging programs for students and teachers will enrich and support classroom work with Shakespeare's texts.

Visitor amenities

- Full accessibility 
​- Elevator access to all public levels
- Café services in the Great Hall
- Expanded gift shop
- Expanded restrooms

 


Meet the Architects & Designers    


 

Timeline

June 2018                   

Restoration work begins on the Folger’s historic façade

April 15, 2019            

The Wonder of Will campaign launches

January 4, 2020

Final day for research in the Folger Reading Rooms before construction begins

January 5, 2020

Final day for daytime visitors to the Folger main building before construction begins; the building will remain open to the public for evening events

March 1, 2020            

Final performance in the Elizabethan Theatre for the 2019-2020 Folger Theatre season

Public evening access to the building ends

2022                   

Construction concludes, and the building reopens

 

This $69 million project is supported by The Wonder of Will: The Campaign for the Folger Shakespeare Library