The Folger Shakespeare Library (201 E. Capitol St. SE) announced that their long-awaited reopening, originally slated for Nov. 17, has been delayed to an unspecified day in 2024.
Folger says the exact timing and details of the reopening celebrations will be shared before the end of the year.
The integration of historic elements with new systems is one reason for the delay, said the historic library and museum.
“An essential goal of the renovation project is to expand public access to the Folger’s many assets while preserving the original vision of architect Paul Philippe Cret,” the Folger wrote in a press release. “Integrating the Folger’s nearly 100-year-old building with new construction and new systems is complex, and this work requires careful configuration, testing and recalibration.”
Folger provided the example of temperature and humidity controls in the spaces designed to house collection materials. These must demonstrate consistent performance over set periods of time. Objects within the Folger’s collection cannot be returned to the building or installed in exhibition spaces until all testing is completed and verified. Similar testing and modifications are being made in many of the building’s systems.
“As we move to complete this magnificent project, we see ever more clearly the power of the design and its transformative nature. A project of this complexity and lasting impact requires attention at every stage of the work, and this work simply requires more time. We know that in pushing forward the reopening, we are setting the Folger up for success in the years ahead,” said Folger Director Michael Witmore.
The Folger Shakespeare Library closed for construction March 2, 2020 –just before the pandemic struck the District.
The Folger’s renovation is the result of more than 10 years of planning to make the Folger a more inclusive, experiential, and welcoming space. Excavation work began in December 2020. The project includes an additional 12,000 square feet of public space beneath the historic building, which will house the two new exhibition halls and a learning lab. Accessible entrances, lush gardens, a café, and new gift shop will greet visitors when the Folger reopens. The project also includes new collaborative research spaces, new Reading Room furnishings, HVAC and accessibility improvements in the theater, and updates to the collection storage system.
“Pursuing a project of this scale, scope and complexity comes with the risk of timeline adjustments, which we recognized from the start and continue to believe is worth it in achieving the remarkable space that awaits us,” said D. Jarrett Arp, Chair of the Board of Governors.
“Like the Folger’s original construction between 1929-1932, this is an investment for generations to come. We are confident in our path and the care with which we are navigating these final steps.”
At present, work impacting the theater is being prioritized with the goal to return performances and programs to the Folger for the 2023-2024 season. Updated information about the season will be shared on Folger.edu when tickets go on sale at the end of September.
Information about community tours and preview days will also be available when the Folger announces its new reopening date.
Learn more about the Folger and its offerings by visiting www.folger.edu