Sunday, July 27, 2008

Folger's Shakespeare Library

The other weekend my friend Steph and I got our butts up on a Saturday morning, and went to the Folger's Shakespeare Library. A few times in the summer they have a tour of their garden. I'm pretty sure the tours are over for this summer, but you should investigate them for future summers because the tour guide is amazing! She is going to remind you of that English teacher you had in high school who knew her shit but still managed to make class interesting and not just an endless lecture on how you're just not getting the finer points of Beowulf. When really who did understand the finer point of Beowulf? It was written in archaic old English. It was hard enough just to understand the overarching plot line, much less the finer points. So there was no need to roll your eyes at my comments in class because you thought they were trite. I was only 16! Ooops. Got a bit off topic there, traveling down memory lane to high school English class. Anywhozzle... this tour guide is awesome. She takes a tiny and rather plain garden which would otherwise have amused me for approximately 5 minutes and turns it into an hour long tour full of audience participation that I found completely fascinating. In my usual style, I have forgotten most of what I learned that day (I really should cut back on the drinking for the sake of my poor brain cells), but I do remember these little tid bits. In the Elizabethan era...
  • they didn't use herbs to flavor foods
  • they believed if you put an ivy leaf under your pillow that you would dream of your husband (I tried it and dreamed of a kid I went to grade school with who has been in a serious relationship for a good 6 years and a bunch of robots. So it didn't work out so well for me, but try it and tell me what you dream of!)
  • they believed that yellow flowers kept witches away from your house because they represented the sun
How interesting, right? Plus I learned what a Shakespeare garden is (a garden which only contains the plants mentioned in Shakespeare's works) and what an Elizabethan garden is (same idea but with any plant that were found in Elizabthen England). You really owe it to yourself to check it out next summer. I think I might be back too. So I can re-learn all those interesting facts that I've already forgotten!

This was the Great Hall which had an armor exhibit. It was neat but small. (Also I got yelled at for taking this picture. Can you see the security guard starting to run out of the door all the way in the back? Everyone seems so anti-photo these days which is somewhat annoying and perhaps over-protective. It makes it hard to capture an experience without any pictures, and are those pictures really hurting the walls and the armor? If it's light exposure that's a big deal, why not just forbid flash photography? Huuuuuuuuuuuff! I guess I will either have to learn to deal with it or learn to be more sly about taking photos!)

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