Shakespeare comes to Lake County Discovery Museum

To be, or not to be, that is the question.

If you go

First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare

on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library

Feb. 3-28

Lake County Discovery Museum

Lakewood Forest Preserve

27277 N.forest Preserve Drive, Wauconda




Everyone will (or should) recognize that as a famous line of Shakespeare, but did you know the following phrases are also Shakespeare?

Be all, end all.

Come full circle.

Eaten me out of house and home.

Those are just some to of the interesting facts and tidbits you never knew about Shakespeare you will come away with after leaving the Lake County Discovery Museum.

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and among many celebrations worldwide is the national touring exhibit from the Folger Shakespeare Library: First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare. To celebrate The Bard, the Folger Shakespeare Library have sent one Folio (they have 83) to each of the 50 states. Andrew Osborne, Superintendent of Educational Facilities at the Lake County Forest Preserve District, said that part of the application process with the Folger Library was to “make the folio accessible to the communities, not holed up in a large venerable institution that was hard to access.” While the individual institutions were not privy to who applied or how they were selected, the community backing of the Discovery Museum surely helped. How cool is that?

Even cooler? It’s all free. Everything. Admission, the lectures, the presentations and the performances.

Now, before I tell you why you should go, and why you should take your kids, you may be asking what is the folio and why is it such a big deal?

The First Folio is the first collected works of Shakespeare ever printed. Seven years after his death it was published by friends of his and contains 36 plays, 18 which had never been published before. It’s so special because we don’t have handwritten manuscripts of Shakespeare’s. This is the earliest and most complete writing we have. It’s also a marvel of the time. Folio’s are very large books that are generally reserved for bibles and royalty due to the complicated printing process.

But the exhibit is about more than this one book. Osbourne said it’s also about showing “what life was like in Shakespeare’s time.” This is what makes it a great exhibit for kids, even if they are too young to understand Shakespeare.

On display in the exhibit are costumes that kids can try on and play with and there is a stage where the kids can act out scenes with laminated scripts. Around Lake County, libraries and theaters are also hosting events and activities in conjunction with the museum to celebrate the Folio and Shakespeare.

I can’t wait to take all my kids back and let them see not just how different life was back then but how much Shakespeare has influenced life today. Did you know he created over 1,700 words, many that we use today? According to a guest at the opening, the Oxford English Dictionary credits him with 10 percent of the words in it! Storylines from his plays, like “Romeo and Juliet,” have been re-done and re-imagined by everyone from Elmo to garden gnomes. Without this book, much of that would have been lost.

It is definitely worth the trip from wherever you live in Chicagoland to check it out. As a bonus, the entire museum is free for the month of February so you can check out the Growing up in Lake County Exhibit, too.

Follow the Lake County Discovery Museum on Facebook for daily fun facts about Shakespeare.

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