- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska’s state library has opened a new exhibit featuring a nearly 400-year-old William Shakespeare book containing 36 plays.

Visitors to the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum in Juneau can view Shakespeare’s First Folio through Aug. 24. The visiting copy of the book, printed in 1623, is one of only 234 known surviving copies.

“It’s just super exciting, you know,” said Freya Anderson, the state librarian who organized and coordinated the visit. “I got to see it outside of the case in real light, and I was like, on clouds the rest of the day. It was just truly, truly amazing.”

The First Folio was published seven years after Shakespeare’s death and marked the first time that works such as “Macbeth” and “Julius Caesar” appeared in print, The Juneau Empire reported (https://bit.ly/2aMhLxU).

Figures collected by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. show one copy of the book sold for $6.2 million at auction in 2001, while another sold for $5.2 million in 2006.



The state received a federal grant in 2015 to cover the costs of having the book on display. The First Folio now in Juneau is one of 16 from the Folger library traveling the United States to celebrate 400 years since Shakespeare’s death.

“Seeing a book that’s this old is a unique experience,” said librarian Claire Imamura. “We don’t have any books in our collection that are 400 years old, so coming at it from a museum or objects point of view, I think it’s great to see something that’s preserved, and that’s something that we’re trying to do here as well: Preserve Alaska’s history for the next 400 years and beyond that.”

The Alaska library is working with a Juneau theater to host a series of Shakespeare readings, lectures and other activities while the book is on display.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

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