Shakespeare’s First Folio Makes Only Oregon Stop at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon

In an exclusive Oregon appearance, “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Library” is on view January 6 – February 7, 2016


EUGENE, Ore. -- (December 9, 2015) - To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of poet and playwright William Shakespeare several of his original First Folios are embarking on a cross-country tour. The University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art will be the only Oregon stop for the traveling exhibition “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library.” Visitors will be able to see the book itself, open to Hamlet’s famous “To Be or Not To Be” monologue. The JSMA will offer free admission for the duration of the exhibition, January 6 – February 7, 2016.

The University of Oregon successfully competed to win approval as the only Oregon site to host the "First Folio" on its national tour. Published seven years after his death, the book called  “Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies”—now known as the “First Folio”—is the only source of 18 of Shakespeare’s 38 plays, including “The Tempest,” “Macbeth,” ”Twelfth Night,” and “As You Like It.”  It is believed that just 233 original First Folios are still in existence. Additional materials from the University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives add context to the exhibition. These include the second and fourth folios of Shakespeare’s collected works, the first folio of the works of playwright Ben Jonson, and illustrations for an edition of “The Tempest” by British artist Walter Crane. 


Also on view, at the Special Collections and University Archives in Knight Library,  is “Time's Pencil: Shakespeare After the Folio,” a corresponding installation that explores changes in how Shakespeare's works were understood, published, and performed and how the historical figure of Shakespeare himself was thought about in the centuries after the First Folio's publication in 1623.


A series of related programs will take place throughout the city of Eugene and include an opening gala performance by the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts; a lecture series at the Eugene Public Library; a documentary film screening of “Shakespeare Behind Bars”; a performance of scenes by University of Oregon Theatre students; a talk by Curt Tofteland, the founder and director, Shakespeare Behind Bars; and additional programs that complement the exhibition. A full calendar can be viewed at


In 2015, Folger Shakespeare Library announced that one First Folio would be sent to one location in each of the 50 states and institutions across America competed to put on of them on display in 2016. The University of Oregon’s successful application effort was led by Lara Bovilsky, associate professor of English, who created a proposal uniting the Department of English, the JSMA, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and UO Special Collections and University Archives for a unique visitor experience.


"The First Folio! exhibition offers Oregonians so many exciting experiences,” says Bovilsky. “A look at a unique, original Shakespearean book and, with the events we've planned in honor of it, additional ways to enjoy and understand Shakespeare’s changing, ongoing impact.”


 “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library,” is a national traveling exhibition organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, to commemorate the 400th anniversary in 2016 of Shakespeare’s death. It is produced in association with the American Library Association and the Cincinnati Museum Center. “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library,” 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, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, and other generous donors.


The JSMA’s presentation is supported by the Kingsley Weatherhead Undergraduate Shakespeare Fund in the Department of English, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Undergraduate Studies, the Oregon Humanities Center, and the Departments of English and Theatre Arts. Additional support has been provided by the City of Eugene Hult Center for the Performing Arts, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives.


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, the Americas and Europe as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is free from January 6 to February 7, 2016. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is the heart of the University of Oregon, providing the core liberal arts curriculum that supports the academic mission of the entire institution and shapes its identity as a comprehensive research university. CAS comprises 41 departments and programs across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, granting approximately 2/3 of all UO undergraduate degrees and 3/4 of all doctoral degrees.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


About Folger Shakespeare Library
Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world. The Folger welcomes millions of visitors online and in person. We provide unparalleled access to a huge array of resources, from original sources to modern interpretations. With the Folger, you can experience the power of performance, the wonder of exhibitions, and the excitement of pathbreaking research. We offer the opportunity to see and even work with early modern sources, driving discovery and transforming education for students of all ages. Join us online, on the road, or in Washington, DC.  Learn more at  


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 one million visitors annually. For more information, visit

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


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


JSMA: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,

University of Oregon: Lara Bovilsky, 541-346-1309,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,