New Mexico Museum of Art

New Mexico Museum of Art to Host Shakespeare’s First Folio Exhibition in 2016

February 26, 2015


Folger Shakespeare Library Announces 52 Host Sites Across the Country for Traveling Exhibit to Mark the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death

(SANTA FE, NM—Feb. 26, 2015)—The New Mexico Museum of Art has been selected as the host site for First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, a national traveling exhibition of the Shakespeare First Folio, one of the world’s most treasured books. The Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring a First Folio of Shakespeare in 2016 to all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The New Mexico Museum of Art will be the only New Mexico venue.

“We are delighted to be selected as one of the places that will showcase this extraordinary part of the world’s cultural heritage from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s collection,” said Mary Kershaw, Director of the New Mexico Museum of Art. “For most people this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to come within inches of one of the most influential books in history, and we are pleased to be able to share this treasure with all the people of New Mexico.”

The first Folio of Shakespeare, published in 1623, is one of the most famous books in the world. Published seven years after the famous bard’s death, the First Folio was the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. It was put together by his fellow actors John Heminge and Henry Condell. The First Folio is roughly 900 pages long; each page is about a foot tall. All 18 plays appear for the first time in print in the First Folio, and would otherwise have been lost.

“The First Folio is the book that gave us Shakespeare. Between its covers we discover his most famous characters—Hamlet, Desdemona, Cordelia, Macbeth, Romeo, Juliet and hundreds of others—speaking words that continue to move and inspire us,” said Michael Witmore, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. “Shakespeare tells the human story like no one else. He connects us to each other, to our history, and to themes and ideas that touch us every day.”

The Folger Shakespeare Library holds 82 copies of the First Folio, by far the largest collection in the world and more than a third of the 233 known copies in the world today. It is believed that 750 copies were originally printed. 

When the First Folio arrives in Santa Fe, its pages 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.

 To complement the display of the Folio, the museum will present the exhibition Stage, Setting, Mood, February 5 – May 1, 2016. An overview of theatricality in the visual arts, Stage, Setting, Mood examines the formal means artists employ to impart a sense of drama and setting in their compositions, and provides a visual context for this extraordinary text. As a state museum with a state-wide reach the Museum of Art will encourage New Mexico schools and libraries to experience the Folio and understand its historical and cultural context.

Director Mary Kershaw commented on the impact of the Folio for education and learning:The Folio project aims to foster an appreciation of the Folio as an original, primary source; to educating secondary school students about the materiality of the Folio; and to create opportunities for individuals to develop a new, lasting appreciation of Shakespeare’s text through personal engagement.”

Beginning with the public support of Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales and the Museum of Art’s parent organization the State of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the Museum of Art plans wide collaboration with colleges, universities, secondary schools, libraries, theater groups, media, state historic sites, and other educational and performance entities throughout the state.

Final touring dates for First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare will be announced in April 2015.

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 and Vinton and Sigrid Cerf. Sponsorship opportunities of this major exhibition and the Folger’s other Wonder of Will programs commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death are available; learn more at

To request high-resolution JPGS of exhibition images, please contact Esther French at (202) 675-0326 or or Garland Scott at (202) 675-0342 or

About New Mexico Museum of Art

Founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Art has been presenting innovative arts programming in downtown Santa Fe for close to 100 years. At its founding the museum collected and exhibited artworks by noted artists from New Mexico and elsewhere. This tradition continues today with a wide array of exhibitions and a significant collection featuring work from the world’s leading artists. Today, as at its founding, the New Mexico Museum of Art strives to bring the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Museum exhibitions and programs are supported by donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its Director’s Leadership Fund, Exhibitions Development Fund, and Fund for Museum Education.

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  

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



Media Contacts:

Steve Cantrell



Carmen Vendelin, Curator of Art



Information for the Public

The New Mexico Museum of Art is located at 107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, just off the downtown Plaza. 24 Hr. Recorded Message: (505) 476-5072; Front desk: (505) 476-5041. November through April the museum is open Tuesdays - Sundays: 10 am-5 pm and open for free 5 to 8 pm on the first Friday of the month. May through October the museum is open 7 days a week 10 am-5 pm and is open for free every Friday night from 5 to 8 pm. The Museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Weather conditions may require the Museum to close; you can check with the Front Desk at 505-476-5041. Visit us on the web for the latest updates at



Related Photos

List of Actors
Martin Droeshout. Shakespeare. Engraving, 1623.
Table of Contents.
Table of Contents
Title page with Droeshout engraving of Shakespeare.
Hamlet in the First Folio
To the Great Variety of Readers an introduction by John Heminges and William Condell

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