The collection of works by and about Shakespeare and his times is second to none, and though the reading rooms are open only to academic researchers, the white-marble art deco building, decorated with sculpted scenes from the Bard's plays, is well worth a look. Inside is a reproduction of a 16th-century inn-yard theater—the site for performances of Shakesperean plays, chamber music, readings, lectures, and family programs—and a gallery, designed in the manner of an
Elizabethan Great Hall, that holds rotating exhibits from the library's collection. One of the Folger's Shakespeare First Folios is always on view and may be thumbed through digitally in the Great Hall. A manicured Elizabethan garden on the grounds is open to the public, and the gift shop contains many collectibles featuring the Bard and English theater. The building was designed by architect Paul Philippe Cret and dedicated in 1932. Henry Clay Folger, the library's founder, was Standard Oil's president and chairman of the board.