Found Object: Shakespeare in the Little Apple

Location: Digital files.
Object: Postcard announcing the month-long visit of Shakespeare’s First Folio to Kansas State and Manhattan, February 2016.
Observations: 1) Five years ago, in March 2016, we were recovering from a whirlwind month of activities following the arrival of a First Folio, on loan for the month of February from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. 2) Thanks to the hard work of English faculty members Don Hedrick and Kara Northway, in collaboration with campus and community partners, K-State was chosen as the Kansas stop on the year-long national tour of Shakespeare’s work in honor of his 400th anniversary. 3) Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare brought Shakespeare into communities across the country — including the Little Apple.

Location: Digital files.
Object: Graphic design for the month-long visit of Shakespeare’s First Folio to Kansas State and Manhattan, February 2016.
Observations: 1) The talented Mariya Vaughan (MA ’11) designed our logos for the event. 2) For that month of February, Shakespeare was indeed “the apple of [our] eye.” As our final report to the Folger Library noted, 4,000+ people visited the Beach Museum to see the First Folio, and 2,000+ attended one of the 14 programming events held across the year. 500 of those in attendance at the Beach Museum were K-State students; the balance were other members of the K-State community and visitors from beyond K-State. 3) In reviewing those attendance numbers, I’m reminded how important this kind of public-facing event can be for community members as well as members of the K-State community.

Location: Digital files.
Object: Photo from the “Media Day” for the month-long visit of Shakespeare’s First Folio to Kansas State and Manhattan, February 2016, featuring English faculty member Don Hedrick and a reporter from the Topeka Capital Journal.
Observations: 1) The Folio itself is fairly small, especially when surrounded by the exhibition panel displays provided by the Folger and the NEH as part of the traveling exhibition. 2) To supplement the Folio, we provided additional materials about Shakespeare’s plays, Renaissance literature and culture, and Shakespeare’s legacy into the 21st century, visible in the bottom right of the photo above and in adjacent gallery spaces. 3) Volunteer docents were also on hand to facilitate visitors’ experiences of the Folio. As one docent remarked, “It was fulfilling to watch someone’s interest in Shakespeare grow right there in front of me.” 4) If visitors leaned into the climate-controlled display and placed pressure on the glass, an alarm would sound — a situation which occurred more than once, including, if I remember correctly, when then-President Kirk Schulz and Noel Schulz were visiting the Folio.
Location: Digital files.
Object: Program for the Shakespeare Faire at the Manhattan Public Library in honor of the month-long visit of Shakespeare’s First Folio to Kansas State and Manhattan, February 2016.
Observations: 1) Partnerships with community organizations were so important for the success of the Folio’s visit, including this event at the Manhattan Public Library. 2) Scholarly perspectives, designed for general audiences, were key as well. As one guest remarked, “These observations provide insight into readership, reception and the issue of authenticity.” 3) The Renaissance Instrument Petting Zoo was also a great success.
Location: Digital files.
Object: Scan of the proclamation from then-Mayor Karen McCulloh of Manhattan, KS, establishing February 2016 as “Folio February” and 2016 as “Shakespeare in the Little Apple Year,” in honor of the month-long visit of Shakespeare’s First Folio to Kansas State and Manhattan, February 2016
Observations: 1) I had forgotten that we had a mayoral proclamation! 2) The month-long visit of the First Folio and the related programming throughout the year did indeed remind us all of how, as the proclamation reads, “Shakespeare lives in the creative consciousness of the world, his language in our language, and his strong sentiments and passions and ideas in the studies of world leaders from Abraham Lincoln to Nelson Mandela.” 3) Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of this public-facing humanities celebration, as organizers or participants. It is indeed a template for future collaborations in support of what the NEH calls “Humanities for All.”

Karin Westman, Associate Professor and Department Head

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