The Folger Shakespeare Library is taking a copy of the First Folio out on tour to every state, even Idaho. And Boise State University has been hosting the book for nearly the last month. This rare book has been displayed less than half a mile from where I live since August 20th and I finally got around to visiting it last Saturday.

Naturally, I dragged my husband along with me. I sold it to him as a nice walk to see an old book, but he spent much of the walk insisting that he had no idea what we were going to see.

The book itself was under glass in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, as can be expected for a book nearly 400 years old, one of only 233 extant copies. It was laid open to Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy, and I was glad to arrive early enough that it wasn’t crowded so I could take the time to read that section. I will admit, I struggled with the font, but it was a worthy struggle.

Photography was allowed as long as there was no flash, so I had Ambrose take my picture to prove my presence near the book itself. And I took a couple pictures of the book by itself.

I was there, within inches of setting off the alarms on the First Folio’s case. 

The book was kept around 65.3 degrees in its case. 

Someone was taking pictures with their cell phone, saying that she hoped she would be able to blow the picture up and read the book with it. I took this picture with my backpacking camera, and no amount of zooming is going to make the pages legible. I wish her the best of luck. 

Overall, it was a nice walk to visit an old book. We saw and greeted a couple of my colleagues from work as we were leaving. And soon enough we were home again.

But I have now read from a copy of the First Folio and I’m too much of a Johnnie not to appreciate that.

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