Skip to main content

First Folio

First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library.

NMM Hours

Noted as one of the most valuable books in history, the Shakespeare First Folio will be visiting the National Music Museum (NMM) on the campus of the University of South Dakota. The historic 17th-century volume will be on view March 7 - April 2, 2016, within a special multi-panel, interactive display. The Folger Library traveling exhibit, titled First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, will also ignite a series of Shakespeare-related events in the Vermillion community. Concerts, movies, lectures, and family events are planned. All will be free to the public — including admission to the National Music Museum itself during the 27 days of the First Folio exhibition at USD.

For questions please contact Darlene Farabee, (605) 677-5229.

Schedule of Events

History of the Book

The First Folio is the first complete collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, seven years after the playwright’s death. Compiled by two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors, John Heminge and Henry Condell, the book preserves 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. Without it, we would not have 18 of those plays, including Macbeth and The Tempest.

One of the most valuable printed books in the world, a First Folio sold for $6.2 million in 2001 at Christie’s and another for $5.2 million in 2006 in London. It originally sold for one British pound (20 shillings) — about $200 today. There are 233 known copies in the world today, with 82 copies held by the Folger Shakespeare Library.

One site in each of the United States was chosen to host the Folger’s First Folio tour. The National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota not only met the rigorous facility demands for displaying such a valuable and sensitive artifact but offered a rich cultural context. Adding its own unique angle on the Folio exhibit, the NMM will showcase some of its Shakespeare-era musical instruments, including the only English-made Renaissance cittern (c. 1579) known to survive.

More Information About the Book

About the Book

  • Shakespeare's Connection to Music

  • What is the Shakespeare Folio?

  • Why is Shakespeare Important?

Made possible in part by a major grant from the:
NEH Logo

And by the support of, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, and other generous donors.

About the National Music Museum

NMM Logo

The National Music Museum, located in Vermillion, South Dakota, on the campus of the University of South Dakota, is one of the world’s finest collection of musical instruments, with 15,000 items in holdings and 1,200 on public display. The NMM owns and exhibits some of the most historically significant musical instruments in existence. The National Music Museum Inc., was founded in 1973 and is a non-profit entity, in partnership with USD. More at